Oct. 11, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Thad Matta and the entire Ohio State men's basketball team took to the court Thursday to preview the 2012-13 college basketball season. Official practice sessions begin at 5 p.m. Friday.
Matta, now in his ninth season as head coach of the Buckeyes, has led teams to the Big Ten regular-season title in each of the last three seasons. Ohio State last won four-consecutive league crowns when Fred Taylor led the Buckeyes to a string of five titles from 1960-64.
Ohio State finished with a 31-8 record a season ago, winning 13 of 18 Big Ten games and a share of the conference crown. The Buckeyes advanced to the program's 10th Final Four and along the way to the program's third-consecutive appearance in the "Sweet 16."
Ohio State returns nine letterwinners from a season ago. Three starters, all juniors, are back as well. Aaron Craft, the reigning Big Ten defensive player of the year, Deshaun Thomas, a member of several 2012-13 preseason All-America teams, and Lenzelle Smith Jr., who started every game last year as a sophomore, all return to a squad with just one senior, center Evan Ravenel.
A stellar sophomore class also is poised to make its mark this season. Amir Williams and Trey McDonald will look to fill the void in the frontcourt left by Jared Sullinger, a 2012 First Round NBA draft pick of the Boston Celtics. LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson and Shannon Scott all return to provide options at guard.
Reserve Alex Rogers, who Matta awarded a scholarship over the summer, and freshman Amedeo Della Valle are the newcomers available to Matta this season. Rogers is a transfer who sat out last season. He has two years of eligibility at Ohio State. He played two seasons at Christian Brothers University. Della Valle, a native if Italy, played one season of high school basketball in the United States last year at Findlay Prep in Nevada.
The Buckeyes open the season with an exhibition game at 7 p.m. Oct. 30 at Value City Arena vs. Walsh University. The season officially opens Nov. 9 vs. Marquette (7 p.m.) at the 2012 Carrier Classic on the USS Yorktown in Charleston, S.C.