Since 2004, when he took over at the poopy state school in the center of Ohio, Thad Matta has put together quite the hot streak on the recruiting trail when it comes to talented big men. He’s added your run of the mill three-star guys like Dallas Lauderdale, Othello Hunter and even that Euro JUCO guy that got mentioned once or twice earlier in the year as a possible UK target (Nikola Kecman). The real haul for Matta, though, has come when he goes after the big men that find themselves at the top of their class. And when he does take a swing at these players, he is the bizarro Adam Dunn. Here is a quick rundown of the talented big guys that Matta has landed so far:
– Greg Oden (class of 2006) - consensus top player in America
– Kosta Koufos (class of 2007) – 16th best player and third best center
– B.J. Mullens (class of 2008) – top player in the country
– Jared Sullinger (class of 2010) – #3 player in the country and #2 PF, committed to Ohio State already
Matta obviously isn’t getting by on his charm or his good looks. That should shock no one. But, surprisingly, it’s apparently not his coaching skills either that have him getting these stars on campus. Just about a year after Bill Walton ripped into Matta for turning Greg Oden into the “the most under-utilized talent that I have ever seen in the college ranks”, Jazz first round pick Kosta Koufos’ high school coach aired some serious beef with Matta and his coaching skills. In this story in the Canton Repository (doesn’t that sound like a painful medicine?), Jack Greynolds said, among some other good things, that Matta was “clueless” and was trying to hold back Koufos so he wouldn’t leave after only one year at Ohio State. If this streak continues, will B.J. Mullens choke Matta out in between timeouts at Northwestern? I sure hope so.
If you’re a Kentucky fan, you’d have to hope that this is the type of information that certain top centers considering Ohio State, **cough** Daniel Orton **cough**, might take note of in their recruitment. Maybe the annual criticism will make the world start to see the Buckeyes as the fool’s gold that they are. Of course, the possibility remains that the kids have known this all along and they just haven’t been able to resist the allure of following a guy who is a firm believer in the 5 second rule. I guess we’ll know in a few months.