- Dick Vitale, College Basketball analyst
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I recently had a chance to shoot the breeze with Ohio State coach Thad Matta. He has an incredible 2010 recruiting class.
His group of six newcomers includes four players who were together in AAU basketball. That chemistry will be an advantage when they walk onto campus together because they've already tasted success with one another.
When breaking down this group of new Buckeyes, you first have to look at 6-foot-9 power forward Jared Sullinger from Northland High in Columbus. He is one of the top diaper dandies coming in right behind North Carolina's newest sensation, Harrison Barnes.
Sullinger's high school teammate, 6-7 small forward J.D. Weatherspoon, was part of the AAU club All-Ohio Red, which went an incredible 201-9 and won three national championships.
Also coming in is 6-7 small forward DeShaun Thomas out of Fort Wayne, Ind. He has a chance to break Damon Bailey's Indiana high school scoring record.
Guards Aaron Craft and Jordan Sibert also played on the All-Ohio Red. Along with Lenzelle Smith Jr., they should immediately boost the backcourt.
This class has to rank among the crème de la crème for next season. I have the Buckeyes and Tar Heels neck-and-neck.
North Carolina's recruiting class for the 2010 season includes Barnes out of Iowa, the 6-8 forward who was named No. 1 by ESPNU. Rounding out the outstanding class heading into Chapel Hill will be Reggie Bullock of Kinston, N.C., who's ranked No. 13 in the ESPNU 100 and is the second-ranked shooting guard, and Kendall Marshall (Arlington, Va./Bishop O'Connell), who's No. 19 in the top 100 and the fourth-ranked point guard.
My friends, these teams are building for the future. Matta has had a great recruiting touch in Columbus, from Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Kosta Koufos to B.J. Mullens. Now the question is, can he keep these kids in school for a while?
I can't wait to see this year's ranked Ohio State team play North Carolina on Thursday night. The cupcakes are tucked away, and these two ranked teams should battle. Matta and Roy Williams will find out about the strengths and weaknesses of their respective teams.
One thing about this season's Ohio State team: Look for the Buckeyes to play more man-to-man defense compared to the 2-3 matchup they used in the past. This team is more athletic, and Evan Turner is so special. Turner helped his game by competing with USA Basketball in Serbia. He is multitalented, can handle the rock and plays several positions on the floor.
Turner showed his versatility and talent by posting the second triple-double in Ohio State history (14 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists) in a win over Alcorn State on Monday.
There is a lot of optimism for Ohio State, as Matta knows how to build a winner.