The future of Ohio State women’s basketball received a triple shot of good news Tuesday with the verbal commitments of three Ohio high school seniors-to-be.
The headliner of the group is Kelsey Mitchell, an explosive point guard from Cincinnati Princeton who is considered the top player in talent-rich Ohio for the 2014 class. Also giving a pledge to be a future Buckeye was her twin sister, Chelsea, and the pair will be playing for their father, Mark, a long-time successful head coach of the boys’ basketball team at Cincinnati Taft who was hired by Ohio State in May as a full-time assistant for new head coach Kevin McGuff.
While Kelsey Mitchell is looked upon by talent evaluators as a potentially program-changing prospect, her sister is considered more of a role player for a major conference team such as Ohio State.
Last season, Kelsey Mitchell averaged 23.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 3.0 steals for the Vikings despite battling a foot injury that kept her out of 15 games. Chelsea Mitchell averaged 9.8 points per contest.
Any good backcourt needs post players to play with, and the third player to commit Tuesday fits that bill. Alexa Hart is an athletic 6-3 forward/center who is rated among the top 50 players in the country by multiple recruiting services despite having to sit out last season for violating OHSAA rules when she transferred from North Ridgeville Lake Ridge Academy to Columbus Africentric.
Hart spent the summer playing on the same All-Ohio Black AAU team with the Mitchells and fellow highly rated Ohio high school post prospects Kathryn Westbeld and Makayla Waterman.
Westbeld and Waterman, who teamed up to lead Kettering Fairmont to the Ohio Division I state championship last season, both remain open and are reportedly considering Ohio State among other major offers. They are not assumed to be a package deal and could end up at separate colleges.
Hart and the Mitchells are the first players to verbally commit to McGuff since he was hired in April to replace four-time Big Ten coach of the year Jim Foster.
McGuff, a Hamilton native, returns to his home state after two seasons working to turn around the program at Washington. Prior to taking over the Huskies, he had a successful nine-year run at Xavier.