To say the Ohio State basketball team is going through an overhaul is a bit of an understatement.
First, the Buckeyes saw the careers of two of the most decorated players in program history — a total of 119 wins — come to a close on a cold, windy day in Buffalo, N.Y., more than three weeks ago when senior guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. battled to a 60-59 loss Dayton in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Two days later, sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle told coach Thad Matta of his intentions to leave Columbus and head back home to Europe to pursue a professional basketball career.
Then only six days later, OSU got hit with another departure — this time its leading scorer — when junior forward LaQuinton Ross announced his intentions to follow in Della Valle’s footsteps and leave early to pursue a pro career.
But with 40 points per game lost from the 2013-14 season, Matta didn’t flinch. In fact, he might even come out on top.
Barely two weeks after adding Temple transfer and redshirt-junior forward Anthony Lee to his roster, OSU’s basketball coach landed another big man, as Virginia Tech freshman Trevor Thompson committed to OSU Sunday, per a report by ESPN College Basketball Insider Jeff Goodman.
“I love the academics, the fans, my new teammates and the coaching staff,” Thompson told ESPN. “It was the perfect fit.”
Thompson also took to Twitter to announce his decision, one day after attending the OSU football Spring Game.
“Well it’s official I’m a Ohio State Buckeye Show Me Love #BuckEyeNation !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Thompson tweeted from his personal account, @TrevBallinTrey2, at 1:29 p.m. Sunday.
Thompson, a 6-foot-11 center who will likely sit out the 2014-15 season per NCAA transfer rules unless he chooses to request a waiver from the NCAA because of his father’s medical condition, averaged 5.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game this past season at Virginia Tech.
An OSU spokesman did not immediately respond to The Lantern’s request for comment about the transfer Sunday. Attempts to contact Thompson directly also were unsuccessful.
The addition of Thompson brings the scholarship count of the men’s basketball program to 12, one below the NCAA allotted 13.
If Thompson does sit out the 2014-15 season, he is set to be one of two centers on OSU’s roster in 2015-16, as junior centers Trey McDonald and Amir Williams are scheduled to enter their final season of eligibility next year. The other center who is set to be on roster with Thompson is David Bell, who is a member of Matta’s 2014 recruiting class.
That class also includes guard D’Angelo Russell and forwards Jae’Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop.
Other members slated to be a part of next year’s squad that saw action in 2013-14 aside from Williams and McDonald — who combined averaged 9.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game this past season — include junior forward Sam Thompson, junior guard Shannon Scott and freshman fowrward Marc Loving. Freshman Kam Williams figures to be in the mix as well after sitting out last season as he battled back from illness.