Nigel Hayes has OSU on official visit list

The power forward Ohio State coach Thad Matta is looking for might be just a few hours away.

Nigel Hayes (Toledo, Ohio/Whitmer) announced his five official visits and Ohio State is one of them. He’ll also visit Stanford, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Dayton.

Here’s what the 6-foot-7 Hayes had to say about each school:

Wisconsin (official visit scheduled for weekend of Aug. 31): “Wisconsin has been on me the hardest. They recruited me with Coach [Lamont] Paris and Coach [Bo] Ryan. They have big plans for me. I’m real excited to see the campus and see how everything will be.”

Minnesota (weekend of Sept. 7): “Tubby Smith, he’s a great coach. They have a great system. I was talking to him earlier about how I would fit in. I just want to go down there and see what they have to offer.”

Dayton (tentatively scheduled in between Minnesota and Stanford): “They’re a program that’s up and coming. They have a great coaching staff as well. They’re doing some things and getting better and better. The coaches have been talking to me and telling me how I fit in and how I can help them become even better. I want to get down there to see what I can do and how I will be able fit in.”

Stanford (weekend of Sept. 28): “Stanford has a really great staff. With Coach [Johnny] Dawkins being in the NBA and the fact they have other staff members that have also played at the highest level. You can’t go wrong when you’re being coached by the people that have been where you want to go.”

Ohio State (tentatively weekend of Oct. 5):“Ohio State has always been one of my dream schools that I have always wanted to go to. I’m real excited to get down there and take my visit.”

Whitmer and his team reached the Division I state finals in March, losing to Pickerington Central 45-40 in the championship game. Hayes finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, three assists and two steals in the finals.

A second-team All-Ohio selection, Hayes averaged 13.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last season.

The 2013 recruit indicated he will take every official visit before making a decision and is going in with an open mind.

“I want to go into each visit with no bias and see, ‘Would this be the best school for me to make me the best player that I can be? And can they get me to the next level?’ If so, then that will be my choice of school.”