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March 31, 2010
In our next installment, we stay in the realm of hoops after the Ohio State men enjoyed a prosperous postseason. The men won the Big Ten Tournament after sharing the regular-season title with Purdue and Michigan State. That led to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and a winding road from Milwaukee to St. Louis, where the Buckeyes were bounced last weekend by Tennessee.
The season ended with a 29-8 mark and some feelings of disappointment mixed in with euphoria. Through the drama of March a few comments from OSU players and coaches maybe have fallen through the cracks, but we have assembled them here.
Evan Turner on having a shooting competition with teammate Jon Diebler – “I was shooting pretty good. I was probably shooting like 60 percent when we were shooting threes. Will Buford was in the gym and Diebler, seriously, didn’t miss for 30 shots. He beat me pretty bad so we went one-on-one and I beat him twice. He let me get a little bit of my pride back.” OSU signee DeShaun Thomas on deciding to commit early as opposed to several fellow competitors in the McDonald’s All-American Game, who are still unsigned – “Some kids want to keep their options open and be more free. But with all the pressure I had, I had to pick out the best place for me and I think it was Ohio State. So everything is all set. I’m going to Ohio State, the family is here and is going to be rooting me. So I got it all off my shoulders and off my back.”
OSU coach Thad Matta on dealing with seven players having flu-like symptoms the week of preparation for the NCAA Tournament – “There’s no pill for it – because I’ve asked.” Matta, facetiously, on OSU’s upcoming second-round game in Milwaukee – “The one thing I’m excited about is I’m sure the Xavier fans will be pulling for us as we go, so that will be really, really good.”
OSU walk-on Mark Titus on the exploits of Turner – “It’s really cool to see him take over in crunch time like he does. Sometimes it will be close and you look up and there’s 10 minutes to go in the game and he’s got six points, and at the end of the game you look up and he’s got like 32. That’s just how he plays. When it’s time to win, he just takes over.” Turner on the fact that only one OSU home game sold out this season – “If you lose a million dollars and you’re making 15 million, I think you’re being a little stingy, so I’m not really praying over that. I look in the stands and I see a lot of people there. People decide what to do with their money, and I’m sure we have enough money.” Turner on why fans wouldn’t come out in droves to see the national player of the year – “I would. But you’ve got stuff on. You’ve got ‘American Idol.’ Somebody asked me if I saw “America’s Best Dance Crew” last night. You’ve got some good TV shows on, so I probably can’t be prime time.” Women’s coach Jim Foster on the defensive prowess of senior Shavelle Little – “Very quick hands. If she was a boxer, your head would be snapping back often from her left jab. She just is very, very quick with her hands and uses them very effectively and knows how to position her body to make her hands more effective.” OSU senior Kyle Madsen on how his body has changed since transferring in from Vanderbilt – “I didn’t realize I was a fat, out-of-shape kid, but I hear it from the strength coach all the time. He’s like, ‘Do you want to see your picture from when you first got here?’ That’s in the past.” Thomas on the remote possibility that Turner could return next year, when the nation’s No. 1 class arrives – “Oh, man. I’m thinking the national championship with the best player in the nation. If he comes back next year we could guarantee a ring, a national championship.”
From time to time, we will take a look back at some of the more interesting remarks we came across, funny quips or meaningful statements that may have been bypassed. Here is a sampling:
by Jeff Rapp
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