November 15, 2010

Matta raves about signing Ross

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Many top programs have finished their early signing classes for basketball but the Buckeyes are hoping to keep picking up steam. On the first day of the period the Buckeyes inked three top players and over the weekend the Buckeyes got everything in order with big man LaQuinton Ross.

Ohio State head coach Thad Matta was finally allowed to speak about Ross on Monday now that the letter of intent is signed and he is no longer considered a recruitable athlete and the head coach is thrilled to have someone of Ross' skill set in the fold.

"With his size at 6-foot-8, from what I saw of him this summer I think he is one of the best scorers in the country and he gets to the foul line and make threes and he can post and he handles the ball," Matta said. "At 6-8 he is long and I think he is just a terrific player for how we play, it is a great gift for us."

Ross held offers from many top programs but the majority of the offers came from the South. More often than not the Buckeyes have not had a lot of success in what is considered the Deep South. Matta knew plenty about Ross for a long time but the Bucks felt that the odds would be long based upon geography.

"I am very excited about LaQuinton and I remember when he was in 8th grade I saw him at the Nike Camp and someone told me that I need to recruit this kid and I was like, 'He is from Mississippi, we are not going to be able to get him,'" Matta said. "So times have changed at Ohio State."

The hiring of assistant coach Dave Dickerson helped open up several new recruiting territories for the Buckeyes and the knowledge of the area got the Buckeyes in there.

Ross had committed to the Buckeyes back over the summer but there was a fear that he would not sign until the late signing period which would occur in April of 2011. But the Ohio State coaching staff understood what the holdup was and an official visit to the Ohio State campus went a long way in sealing the deal.

"His big thing to me was that he never saw the campus and as much as we tell him about it I don't blame the kid for wanting to set his eyes on it and obviously with the weekend we had with our game, the football game, it was just a tremendous weekend for us," Matta said.

Matta joked that there isn't any sort of special formula that the staff follows to finish the sell to a recruit.

"We just sort of do what we do," Matta said. "There is no difference between an official and unofficial and we tell kids what you see is what you get. I think you have the movie Blue Chips on your mind and how persuasive we have to be or whatever (laugh)."

And Matta is thankful that he has a tremendous product to present to recruits and that has helped him earn his label of being a top recruiter in the country.

"When you get kids here, this place is so fantastic that I tell them when they get here, 'Just put yourself in the shoes that you are an Ohio State Buckeyes this weekend and take it all in,'" Matta said.

Ohio State has room for one more player and on Wednesday the world will find out where Beverly Hills (Mich.) center Amir Williams will pick. Many people are optimistic about Ohio State's chances. But of course Matta can't comment on Williams and he isn't tipping his hand on how he thinks that one will end up going down.

"Who knows," Matta said with a smile.


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