When Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith made the decision to let Thad Matta go as his basketball coach, one of the reasons Smith cited for the change was that recruiting needed to get better.
Smith brought in Chris Holtmann from Butler as Matta’s replacement. When Holtmann’s recruiting with the Buckeyes got off to a slow start, the decision to fire Matta received some added criticism.
However, Holtmann and his staff hit the jackpot last week.
The Buckeyes went from zero players committed for the 2018 class to four in a span of six days.
Those offering their verbal commitment to the Buckeyes were Texas power forward Jaedon LeDee, California point guard Duane Washington, New Jersey shooting guard Luther Muhammad and Versailles shooting guard Justin Ahrens.
Muhammad is the highest regarded of the four. He is ranked by 247Sports.com as the 71st-best player in the country.
Even with the big haul, some will continue to question whether Holtmann can keep top players in Ohio. Ahrens is the only player in the 2018 class from the Buckeye State.
The top-five players in Ohio for 2018 have all went elsewhere: Dane Goodwin of Upper Arlington to Notre Dame, Darius Bazley of Cincinnati to Syracuse, Jerome Hunter of Pickerington to Indiana, Pete Nance of Cleveland to Northwestern and Dwayne Cohill of Cleveland to Dayton.
WEEKEND OUTLOOK, exclusively in Friday's Examiner.
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