- By Marcus Hartman
What a day we had yesterday!
The basketball and national signing day action we promised in this space did not disappoint.
In fact, it exceeded expectations since Ohio State actually won at Purdue, which I did not expect in the least.
I may start calling Chris Holtmann “Coach Thesaurus” because I am running out of superlative for these Buckeyes, who not only beat the Boilermakers on their floor but overcame a 14-point deficit in doing so.
Keita Bates-Diop won his Big Ten Player of the Year showdown with Middletown native Vincent Edwards. The OSU senior scored the last of his 18 points on the decisive basket with less than three seconds left. He also had 11 rebounds and three assists while Edwards scored 11 points and grabbed nine caroms.
I thought those two would cancel each other out and the difference would be Isaac Haas and Carsen Edwards. They combined for 46 points for Purdue, but Ohio State got 18 points from its bench, including 10 big ones from Indiana native Musa Jallow, while the Boilermakers backups were shut out.
Ohio State won the battle of the boards and committed only eight turnovers.
This team really has something special going in terms of chemistry and attitude.
It’s the kind of thing that happens by accident sometimes but is often attributed to great coaches because their teams unlock that formula more often than not.
Holtmann is off to a hell of a start, obviously, and regardless of how this season ends it is a big deal because it could pay dividends down the road when it comes to the most important factor in winning in college basketball: Recruiting…
A busy signing day was marred by bad weather, but the area’s uncommitted big three all made their choices anyway: Springfield’s Leonard Taylor and Dunbar’s Tavion Thomas are headed to Cincinnati while Trotwood-Madison’s Ra’veion Hargrove signed with Bowling Green.
I see all three of these guys as having the potential to play at Power 5 schools, but there’s something to be said for having the chance to dominate outside the highest tier in college football. I see all three of them as having that potential.
Coverage: Signing Day
Of course, the bigger news in area high school sports came after those guys had signed as Mike Hartsock and Marc Pendleton broke the news the GWOC is apparently going to break up.
If I had attended one of these schools, I might have strong feelings on this, but at this point I can’t say I do.
I graduated from one of the small schools nearby right before the last round of conference mergers started, so they’ve always seemed a bit foreign to me.
I suppose one of the problems with changing conferences is whatever you end up with lacks the emotional attachment of what came before, and that makes it easier to split apart when fissures inevitably occur.
Ohio State football also managed to make headlines despite having most of its class wrapped up long ago.
Urban Meyer burnished his reputation as a strong closer by reeling in a five-star offensive tackle on signing day.
We also got a good bit of news on the coaching front with talk about Greg Schiano staying, Kerry Coombs leaving, Alex Grinch arriving and more.
Check it out here…
And lastly there are those pesky Dayton Flyers.
The women’s team kept rolling with a convincing win at UMass, the men’s squad looked great, too.
The latter dominated Duquesne for most of the night, winning 88-73 at UD Arena.
At the risk of being obvious, that is the ideal (realistic) formula for success for Anthony Grant’s Flyers.
The old guys (Darrell Davis and Josh Cunningham) combined for 41 points and 14 rebounds, the freshmen guards (Jordan Davis and Jalen Crutcher) combined for 26 points and 14 assists while the glue guy (Trey Landers) stuffed the stat sheet with 12 points, nine assists and four rebounds.
That brings us back to where we have been multiple times already this year: Wondering how many more times can they do that again before the season is over.