Ohio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta has officially finalized his 2014 recruiting class, and he’s happy with the group set to don the Scarlet and Gray next year.
“(I’m) just very, very excited about this class,” Matta said Thursday. “I think the biggest thing with this particular class is we got what we wanted.”
Matta announced Thursday the signing of four players, including two from Ohio, to complete yet another class that ranks in the Top 5 of the country.
The four players Matta added to his crew for 2014 include guard D’Angelo Russell, forward Keita Bates-Diop, forward Jae’Sean Tate and center David Bell.
Matta spoke about Tate, a Pickerington, Ohio native, first Thursday, calling him “a warrior,” and someone who can play multiple positions.
“Everybody’s asking me, ‘What position is Jae’Sean?’ And I always answer the same, ‘I don’t know, but I know he’s going to be on the floor,’” Matta said. “He’s got a great first step. He can guard I think all five positions on the floor … You’re getting a great player and you’re getting a guy who is a Buckeye.”
Matta called Russell “another great guard at Ohio State,” even though it may be unclear whether he will play point guard or shooting guard.
“Is he a point guard? Is he a two guard? I don’t know. I think we can run him at both,” Matta said. “He’s got the ability to make big time plays with the ball in his hands.”
Russell is the complete package, Matta said, because he does all things well.
“The first time I ever saw him play, he had six threes in the first half and the second half, he didn’t take a one but he probably had 10 assists,” Matta said. “He’s just got something about him.”
Another player who Matta said “wants to be at Ohio State” is Bell, who is from Garfield Heights, Ohio.
“I think we’ll bring his skill along, but he runs the floor, he blocks shots, he rebounds out of his area,” Matta said of Bell.
Bates-Diop is another player that can do it all because of his athleticism, Matta said.
“I think from the standpoint of playing multiple positions, he scores, he passes, he rebounds, he can defend, can handle the basketball,” Matta said of Bates-Diop.
Matta said he and the rest of the coaching staff set out on the recruiting trail with mindset that they wanted to replace current senior guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. — which he said they did.
“We feel unequivocally we did that with guys that can do a lot of different things,” Matta said. “I kind of like the position we’re in.”
Matta and the Buckeyes are set to travel to Milwaukee for their first road game of the season Saturday, taking on Marquette at 1 p.m.