Ohio State has always been an exciting team to watch on the football field, but that hasn’t always been the case with its counterpart basketball team. Ever since the days of energetic Aaron Craft were over, we have not been a consistently great basketball team. Other than a few good wins here and there (UK Win), this basketball team has lacked the spark that once led to the Elite Eight in the 2012-2013 season. Sure, we had a good season in 2014-2015, making it into the second round of the NCAA tournament, but we have not had that team cohesion that makes good basketball programs into great ones. We have not had the leadership to inspire 3 and 4 star recruits to play like 5 star recruits. What does OSU lack that other top notch programs do? Chemistry.
It is very difficult to take a basketball team far into the depths of the NCAA tournament without chemistry, or without copious amounts of 5-Star recruits. Since OSU is not as prominent of a basketball program to recruit to as an IU or a UK per say, we need to rely on chemistry to take us through the season. There was a clear lack of chemistry this season, as we finished 21-14, and only won 11 out of 18 conference games. I attribute this lack of chemistry due to the loss of standout PG and NBA Rookie, D’Angelo Russell.This 5 Star grab was a shock to our program, and all of Buckeye nation was hoping he would stay a year or two more to help jumpstart our program from a fate that seemed to be very desolate. He made the first year of non- Aaron Craft Ohio State basketball a little more bearable, but in the end he decided to declare after his Freshman year. Why do I keep jumping back to Aaron Craft like he was a godsend for our program? Because he was.
Aaron Craft is the epitome of why an under talented team can be great. He was the very definition of a floor general, and he had perfected his craft at a level college basketball will not see again for a very long time. He won the Big 10 defensive player of the year award twice, and was an overall outstanding human being. He brought the talent around him, and made them into one cohesive unit. They rallied around the leadership of a respectable and outstanding young man, and a figure like him is what we lack on the current basketball team. I hope next year we will see one of the Juniors like Trevor Thompson or Keita Bates-Diop step up and bring everyone around them with them. Maybe sole Senior Forward Marc Loving will increase his game, and be a prime example of a leader and a teammate.
The lack of chemistry is very clearly seen after the season ended, when 4 out of our 5 Freshmen in the recruiting class of 2015 transferred. Clearly there was an issue on the team that most did not see, and I hope that them leaving does not bode bad horizons for us as a team. I do, however, think their losses will not be the nail in our coffin for next season. The depth that these Freshmen brought to the table was very valuable, but they will not be the undoing of this basketball team. We will figure out ways to replace them, as good old Thad Matta is recruiting very well for the situation that is boding for his team. If there is one thing I have learned about OSU basketball, it is that it always recovers.