Coach Thad Matta and the Ohio State men’s basketball team are gearing up for a trip to the Bahamas, where they will take part in two exhibition matches.
Last season, the Buckeyes’ run ended in the second round of the NCAA tournament with a 60-59 loss to the Dayton Flyers.
Following the 2013 season, the Buckeyes lost guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. to graduation, forward LaQuinton Ross to the NBA draft and guard Amedeo Della Valle to the European professional league.
Craft and Ross, neither of whom were selected in the NBA draft, saw action in the NBA Summer League, as Craft suited up for the Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors while Ross took the court for the Los Angeles Lakers.
During the offseason, the Buckeyes were able to add two transfers, forward Anthony Lee and center Trevor Thompson, to the roster.
Lee, the 6-foot-9, 230-pound Temple graduate started 27 games last season with 13.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game and a .495 field goal percentage.
Lee said Matta was the reason why he transferred to Ohio State and added, “I know I have the opportunity to win a possible championship, and so I wanted to be a part of that.”
Thompson, a Virginia Tech transfer, will not make the trip with the team and is awaiting word on whether or not he will be eligible for the rest of the season. Last year the 6-foot-11, 210-pound freshman forward averaged 5.0 points and 4.7 rebounds per game before transferring to Ohio State.
During the Buckeyes’ final practice before making the trip to the Bahamas, senior forward Sam Thompson applauded the attitudes and work ethic of the new recruiting class.
“They all came in ready work and willing to learn from some of the older guys, so anytime you have guys coming into your program with that kind of attitude it’s a great experience,” Thompson said.
Sophomore forward Marc Loving and senior guard Shannon Scott also commented on the improvements and expectations the offense has going forward into this season.
“I think our offense is going to take a really big step then what it was last year, but we’re not going to let that change our defense,” Scott said.
“Everyone can spread the floor, everyone can create their own shot and create for others, it’s going to be hard for teams to guard us,” Loving added.
The Buckeyes leave Columbus on Tuesday morning and will play the Bahamas All Stars on Aug. 7 at 9 p.m. and the Providence Storm on Aug. 8 at 7 p.m.