Where Are They Now? Misfits Of The Thad Matta Era

Where Are They Now? Misfits Of The Thad Matta Era

Basketball

Where Are They Now? Misfits Of The Thad Matta Era


When Thad Matta was let go in June of last year, a lot of it had to do with the direction of the program in regards to recruiting. Part of that was several kids that lost their way and left the program under unusual circumstances. We take a look at where some of those players are now.


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Where Are They Now? Misfits Of The Thad Matta Era

Managing the emotions and personalities of today’s youth can be difficult, especially at a program the size and magnitude of an Ohio State.

For his first decade, Matta seemed to be able to masterfully handle all that came with recruiting, and managing lofty expectations of kids playing time — somehow keeping everyone happy.

But towards the tale end of his tenure, kids started to get antsy and either get in trouble, or leave the program all together in the most surprising and unusual set of circumstances.

Here’s a look at where some of them ended up.

Braxton Beverly

Beverly actually never made it to Ohio State, and truth be known, he wasn’t a casualty because of Matta. Instead, he decided to re-open his commitment when Matta was let go. Long story short, the NCAA allowed him to look at other places without penalty (with the help of a letter from Matta).

In the end, he decided to play at North Carolina State where he made an immediate impact this year, eventually working his way into the starting lineup while averaging 9.5 points and 3.9 assists per game. He should be a staple in Raleigh for a few years to come.

Trevor Thompson

Trevor Thompson started his career at Virginia Tech before transferring to Ohio State because of family medical reasons. He dipped his toes in the NBA draft waters after his sophomore year, then the center/forward decided to forego his senior season and pull the trigger.

It was all a bit curious, because Thompson never fully realized his potential, lacked the drive at times to take it to the next level, but then left anyhow despite needing an additional year in college. In the end, it was probably not the right decision for him. He ended up undrafted and now plays for the Santa Cruz Warriors in the G-League.

A.J. Harris

The Harris transfer was even more mind-boggling and we may never know the full story. The 5-9 point guard was the main table-setting option for Ohio State’s future, and had every opportunity to be one of the faces of the program.

As quick as any guard you’ll see, Harris struggled a little with confidence his freshman season at OSU, averaging just 2.8 points on just 13.1 minutes per game. He would eventually transfer to New Mexico State where he now starts and averaged 9.4 points and 2.9 assists per game. He still has two years of eligibility left.

Austin Grandstaff

We really never got to see much of Grandstaff at Ohio State. He was a part of four players that transferred out after the 2016 season and saw little game action despite coming to Columbus as a four-star recruit.

Grandstaff came to Ohio State as a sharpshooter, but got lost behind Kam Williams and Keita Bates-Diop on the depth chart. He transferred to DePaul and has struggled to find playing time there as well.

Daniel Giddens

Giddens — another four-star recruit from the Ohio State 2015 recruiting class — displayed flashes of the ability that had folks excited about him being a large part of the Buckeye program. But once again, he decided to transfer out after his freshman season.

At 6-11, he has a high ceiling, but has yet to put it together after playing last year for Alabama after sitting out a year because of transfer rules. He averaged just 13.3 minutes and 4.2 points per game, but he does still have two years of eligibility left to develop.

JaQuan Lyle

Lyle might be the most bizarre story of them all. Buckeye fans know him well after watching him as mostly a starter for two years. He is an amazing athletic talent with an ability to stuff the stat sheet, but at times unexplainably disappeared in games.

After news broke of an arrest in May of last year because of public intoxication, it was discovered that Lyle had already quit the team a month before and was exploring other options. He has subsequently transferred to New Mexico, and will get his first taste of game action this coming season after sitting out a mandatory year because of NCAA transfer rules.

Mickey Mitchell

Mitchell was the fourth of the group of four-star recruits that transferred out of the program after the 2016 season. He started his Ohio State career in a cloud of mystery — working through an undisclosed eligibility issue — before finally being cleared after a few games of the season. He eventually cracked the starting lineup in Columbus, but was known more for his passing and role play.

He announced his decision to transfer to Arizona State, where he took classes early enough to be eligible to play this December. If you watched some of the Pac-12 games this year, you know doubt saw Mitchell begin to contribute a bit. He averaged 5.8 points and 5.2 rebounds while logging 22.5 minutes per game. He’ll no doubt be looking to contribute even more next season for the Sun Devils.

Darius Bazley

Bazley’s de-commitment was one of the dominoes that ultimately led to Thad Matta’s dismissal. He was originally committed to Ohio State, but after OSU failed to reach the NCAA tournament in 2016-17, he opened up his commitment, siting a lack of confidence in where the program was headed.

The five-star recruit then committed to Syracuse, but just recently announced a decision to skip college all together and begin play in the NBA’s developmental G-league. We’ll have to see how this all works out, because it could set a trend in the future. Either way, you have to question whether Bazley really wanted to go to Ohio State or any college at all.

David Bell

Bell was a 6-9 forward out of Cleveland who never really got a chance to crack the Ohio State lineup. He averaged just 6.1 minutes per game and 1.3 points coming off the bench in two seasons in Columbus.

He eventually transferred to Jacksonville where he is currently sitting out the mandatory year per NCAA rules and will be eligible to get back on the court next year.

 

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