COLUMBUS, Ohio — The royalty theme has been taken to another level. After publicly calling Wisconsin the current “king” of the Big Ten early in the week, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer has trumped that by welcoming another “King” to his sideline on Saturday night as the programs collide in a critical meeting of conference favorites.
The rivalry, the stakes and the recent history with the No. 23 Badgers were already enough to build the buzz for the divisional showdown, but now LeBron James has been thrown in the mix as a confirmed guest of the No. 3 Buckeyes, potentially throwing even more fuel on the fire with an NBA superstar in their corner.
“Give me all kinds of LeBrons,” Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said this summer. “He’s a great role model. The way he articulates, his look, the way he treats people, the focus — those leadership videos we use, his face is plastered all over them.
“First of all, the guys all admire him. The head coach really, really admires him.”
Meyer even once tried to recruit James to play football for him, at that time not realizing who he was or how bright the future was for the four-time NBA most valuable player.
And aside from that tie to Meyer, James is also an outspoken Buckeyes fan after growing up in Ohio and even has a locker in the newly renovated basketball complex that displays his line of shoes and the clothing the team wears.
Ohio State already had plans in place for a “Scarlet Out” for the anticipated crowd of around 106,000 while the team will be wearing special rivalry uniforms, which made it clear well before kickoff how much importance the program is placing on a chance to showcase itself on a national stage.
And in case all that stuff didn’t have the Buckeyes fired up, Meyer calling the Badgers the reigning “king of the Big Ten” certainly got their attention as well.
“I mean, we know we’re the kings,” cornerback Bradley Roby said. “We’re not worried about anybody else. Simple as that.”
Ohio State has a chance to reclaim that crown on Saturday, and it will have the support of basketball royalty and a proven champion on its sideline.
Bringing in athletes from the professional ranks to give motivational speeches has been a trend among college football teams in recent years, so it’s no surprise that the Ohio State Buckeyes plan to adopt that tactic this weekend. What may surprise you is that, according to Ben Axelrod of Scout.com, the No. 3 Buckeyes have asked NBA superstar LeBron James, who enraged many Cleveland fans when he left the Cavaliers in 2010, to give a pregame speech prior to the upcoming matchup with No. 23 Wisconsin. He will also remain on the sideline for the duration of the contest, which takes place Saturday night at Ohio Stadium. King James is an Akron, Ohio, native, but he never attended college. He jumped straight into the pros after an impressive high school career at St. Vincent-St. Mary but has always remained a fan of OSU athletics. Axelrod noted that James has close ties to current Buckeyes head coach Urban Meyer, stemming to his days with Notre Dame. The then-wide receivers coach attempted to convince LBJ to put on the pads at South Bend, but was clearly unsuccessful in his efforts. James was also given a commemorative locker in the Ohio State men’s basketball team’s locker room earlier this year. The four-time NBA MVP hasn’t played in an official football game since his All-State high school career with the St. Vincent-St. Mary ended, but he does know a little something about winning. James’ Miami Heat squad is coming off back-to-back championships, in which he was…
An Ohio State spokesperson confirmed to BuckeyeSports.com that four-time NBA MVP and Ohio native LeBron “King” James will be on the sideline supporting the No. 3 Buckeyes before the team’s biggest test of the season, a primetime showdown with conference foe No. 23 Wisconsin. Though he won’t give a pregame speech to the team as was originally reported.
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A Buckeyes player has been selected in the first or second round of the past six drafts, one more than Kentucky and two more than Connecticut, Washington and Florida State.
Ohio State will forever be known as a football powerhouse first and foremost, but the basketball program has significantly closed the gap under Thad Matta. Part of that process is sending players to the next level, which Matta has done …
A way-too-early look at college basketball’s best teams for the 2013-14 season (The Dagger: College Basketball Blog)
All the confetti on the floor at the Georgia Dome hadn’t even been picked up yet Monday night when speculation about next year’s college basketball season began.
Forward Deshaun Thomas will pass up his final season at Ohio State to enter the NBA draft, the university announced Friday. Thomas leaves with 1,630 points, ranking him ninth on the Buckeyes’ career scoring list. He led the Big Ten in scoring this season with a 19.8 average and helped Ohio State reach the West Regional final before losing to Wichita State. “My three years at Ohio State have been the best years of my life,” Thomas said. “I have grown tremendously as an individual and as a basketball player. I intend to return to finish my degree, but I believe that now is the best opportunity to pursue my dream and begin my career as a professional basketball player.” Thomas also played on a team that reached the Final Four in 2012. He considered following teammate Jared Sullinger to the NBA after last season before opting to stay in school. “To see Deshaun grow into the man he has become has been amazing,”…
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Forward Deshaun Thomas will forego his final season of eligibility at Ohio State and will enter the NBA draft. Thomas finishes his Buckeyes career ninth on the school’s all-time scoring list. He averaged 19.8 points and 5.9 rebounds this season as the Buckeyes landed in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament. ”My three years at Ohio State have been the best years of my life,” Thomas said. ”I have grown tremendously as an individual and as a basketball player. I intend to return to finish my degree, but I believe that now is the best opportunity to pursue my dream and begin my career as a professional basketball player.” Ohio State went 29-8 this season.
If Ohio State wants to return to the Elite Eight for the third straight time in 2014, it will have to do so without leading scorer Deshaun Thomas.
CBS Sports’ Jeff Goodman reported on Friday afternoon on Twitter that Thomas …
According to ESPN, Former No. 1 overall pick Greg Oden has decided to resume his playing career, but is not planning to return to the NBA before the 2013-14 season, according to sources close to the situation.