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You’re Nuts: Drafting an Ohio State men’s basketball starting five since 2000

It has been a busy couple of weeks for Ohio State basketball, as they have announced the return of Seth Towns, the addition of transfer guards Tanner Holden and Sean McNeil, and Malaki Branham announced he is officially staying in the nba draft.

As always, the Bucketheads are keeping on with the debates and discussions and talking about all things Ohio State basketball related. This week, we are doing something a bit different. We are trying out a draft.

Last week, we talked about Ohio State hoops recruiting and the best way to go about it. This was prompted by this years recruiting class coming in, as it is one of the highest ranked basketball classes in Columbus in a long time. Connor went with keeping the talent in state, and Justin went with getting all the talent no matter where they hooped in high school.

Justin won in a close battle.

After 47 weeks:

Connor – 21
Justin – 18
Other- 6

(There have been two ties)

So this week we drafted teams. There were two stipulations. One was starting at the year 2000. Not Jerry Lucas on this list. And the second one was this was strictly based on college success. What these guys have done professionally does not matter.

How it broke down…

Pick 1 (Justin): Greg Oden
Pick 2 (Connor): Evan Turner
Pick 3 (Justin): Keita Bates-Diop
Pick 4 (Connor): Mike Conley
Pick 5 (Justin): D’Angelo Russell
Pick 6 (Connor): Jared Sullinger
Pick 7 (Justin): Michael Redd
Pick 8 (Connor): Jae’Sean Tate
Pick 9 (Justin): Deshaun Thomas
Pick 10 (Connor): Kosta Koufas
Pick 11 (Justin): Aaron Craft
Pick 12 (Connor): EJ Liddell

Today’s question: Who drafted a better all-Buckeye team?


Connor:

Mike Conley, Evan Turner, Jae’Sean Tate, Jared Sullinger, Kosta Koufos, EJ Liddell

Ohio State University vs University of Tennessee, 2010 NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinals

Set Number: X83958 TK1 R8 F56

I ahead of time that my first pick was going to be either Evan Turner or Mike Conley decided, because they were both so successful in college and also had pretty great NBA careers (I know this draft was only supposed to be based on college, but it’s still hard to get over Greg Oden’s NBA career). So when Justin took Oden first, it was a no-brainer to take the National Player of the Year, right? Easy choice for my first pick.

Once Turner was off the board, I figured Justin would take Conley — who is definitely held in higher regard by Ohio State fans than D’Angelo Russell, and who arguably has had a better career in the league, too. Justin opted for Keita Bates-Diop, which meant I was able to take both of my top two guys with my first and second picks, rounding out my backcourt right away.

With my backcourt all set, I was able to use my third pick on one of the most dominant big men of the past 20 years in Sullinger, who is also from Columbus. He also may be the best post player Ohio State has had since 2000 other than Oden, so it just made sense here. At this point I really felt like I was dominating this draft.

Justin snagged Michael Redd with his fourth pick, which might’ve been the best value pick in this whole thing if we’re being honest. I went with my heart instead of my head and reached for Jae’Sean Tate with my fourth pick, just because I love him with my whole heart and am so damn proud of his journey. But in the grand scheme of things, he probably isn’t on the same level as some of these other guys. But I digress.

With my fifth pick I had to find a center, and I realized Ohio State really has not had many great centers since Oden. The options really come down to Byron Mullens, Kosta Koufos, and I guess… Kaleb Wesson? So Koufos was the pick. And then I tied it all up with an All-American in EJ Liddell coming off the bench with my final selection.


Justin:

D’Angelo Russell, Michael Redd, Keita Bates-Diop, Deshaun Thomas, Greg Oden, Aaron Craft

Ohio State vs. Indiana

With my first pick, I went with big man Greg Oden. I mean, I don’t have to actually explain this one do I? Dude was as dominant as anyone over the last 20 years and led Ohio State to the national championship game, where he put up 25 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks on 10-for-15 shooting.

With my second pick, I wanted to go with a position I thought was lacking a bit. So I went with Keita Bates-Diop at small forward. Bates-Diop will always hold a strong spot in a lot of Buckeyes fans hearts along with Jae’Sean Tate, because they made a year that was supposed to be pretty miserable a lot of fun. This was the first season under Chris Holtmann for the Buckeyes and they were coming off two missed NCAA tournaments in a row. However, in large part to Big Ten player of the year Bates-Diop, the Buckeyes ended up finishing third in the conference with a five seed in the NCAA Tournament. KBD averaged 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game during that historic season.

With my third pick, it was time for a point guard. D’Angelo Russell was the only choice here. Russell was not only one of the best players to come through Ohio State in the last two decades, but he was easily one of the most entertaining too. It felt like he could really do anything on the court. He had a triple-double as a Buckeye, basically single handedly won them a postseason game and made play after play that had the defenses heads spinning. He was the highest draft pick since Greg Oden for a reason. He averaged 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds per game and 5 assists per game in his only season in Columbus.

With my fourth pick, Michael Redd. Redd just barely made the cut as he was drafted in 2000, but he is a great Ohio State, nonetheless. Redd averaged 19.6 points and 6.5 rebounds per game through his three year career with Ohio State. Just a pure scorer who crashed the boards surprisingly well. Weirdly enough, his scoring averages steadily decreased through his three years, as he averaged almost 22 points per game as a freshman and just over 17 points per game as a junior. Still, I have put up some staggering numbers.

And finally with my fifth pick, Deshaun Thomas. Thomas was a guy who played with a lot of talent and still was able to carve out his own incredible lane scoring. The lefty killer was so vital to Ohio State in their success post William Buford, Jon Diebler and David Lighty and helped the Buckeyes still reach an Elite Eight and a Final Four. Thomas averaged 14.4 points and 5 rebounds per game for his career, but he averaged just under 20 points his junior season.

And off the bench, is there a better sixth man than Aaron Craft? Doubt it.

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