Ohio State Basketball: Why Buckeyes Need D’Angelo Russell in 2014-15

At this point in the college basketball offseason, any news is typically bad news, and Ohio State received a serious dose of that recently.

D’Angelo Russell, who is the highest-rated of the four incoming freshmen Thad Matta landed for the 2014-15 season, did not begin the summer semester with the rest of his teammates. Bob Baptist of The Columbus Dispatch had the report.

Russell’s high school academic transcript still hasn’t been cleared by the NCAA. However, Matta seemed somewhat optimistic, via Baptist, saying, “We are hoping to have him here soon.”

Not only are the Buckeyes hoping to have Russell there soon, they absolutely need him there this season.

Last year’s offense fell somewhere between watching paint dry and watching the gory scenes in Game of Thrones on the painful-to-watch scale.

There was hardly any outside shooting (Ohio State shot 32 percent as a team from downtown and had exactly zero players shoot 36 percent or better), the ball movement was stagnant at best (227th in the nation in assists per game) and there was almost a refusal to get out in transition until it was already too late in many games. Floor spacing was a foreign concept at times as well.

It is a lot of pressure to put on a freshman’s shoulders, but Russell addresses almost all of those weaknesses right away.

He is an elite ball-handler and offensive creator who can get his own shots off the dribble with an explosive first step and an array…

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