2015 recruits keeping Matta busy

Another recruiting class, another big opportunity for Thad Matta and the Buckeyes.

Thomas J. Russo/Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

A really big weekend for Ohio State basketball recruiting started a day early.

Class of 2015 Shaker Heights forward Esa Ahmad made an unofficial visit to campus on Thursday, and his father confirmed to several media outlets that the Buckeyes extended an offer during the visit. The 6’7 Ahmad is a natural scorer and a fast riser in recruiting circles after a breakout high school season.

This weekend, the Buckeyes will host 6’5 Texan Austin Grandstaff, also a highly-regarded class of 2015 prospect.

Grandstaff was previously an Oklahoma State verbal commit. He’s regarded as an elite shooter who can play both guard spots.

Ahmad is a scorer, too, and that’s clearly a priority for the Buckeyes coming off a season in which their offense wasn’t up to championship standards and after which leading scorer LaQuinton Ross gave up his final season of eligibility to turn pro. Ahmad also has offers from Iowa State, Cincinnati, Xavier, Texas Tech, West Virginia, Maryland, Clemson and Purdue, among others. Ohio State’s first known contact came last month when Thad Matta made the trip to watch Ahmad in an open gym setting at Shaker Heights, an Eastern suburb of Cleveland.

Coaches can’t publicly discuss recruits or recruiting until after players sign. Ohio State signed a highly-touted four-man class last fall for 2014 which includes three wing players and has two 2015 commits: Dayton Dunbar point guard A.J. Harris and 6’7 swingman Mike Mitchell of Plano, Texas. Mitchell committed when his brother, Mike, was playing football at Ohio State. Mike is transferring, reportedly due to their father’s illness, leaving Mickey’s status uncertain.

Also in the class of 2015 the Buckeyes were previously targeting Ohio’s Mr. Basketball, 6’5 Luke Kennard of Franklin, who committed to Duke, and 6’9 Carlton Bragg of Cleveland, whose recruitment remains open. With Mitchell and/or Bragg there may not have been much room for Ahmad, but Ahmad has played himself into the thinking of a lot of coaches last season, averaging 26.5 points and 11.5 rebounds per game.

With Shannon Scott and Sam Thompson set to exhaust their eligibility after next season, Grandstaff could see both opportunity and a fit at Ohio State. Over four games with Team Texas Elite at the Nike EYBL event last weekend in Sacramento, Grandstaff averaged 20.5 points and made 13 3-pointers.

Scout.com lists Florida, Texas A&M, SMU and UNLV among the other programs that have offered Grandstaff. He’s tweeted that he hopes to finalize a visit to Michigan and visited Florida in March shortly after re-opening his recruitment.

Grandstaff played the first half of his sophomore season at Huntington Prep in West Virgina, where he was a teammate of the possible No. 1 overall pick in June’s NBA Draft, Andrew Wiggins.