Ohio State landed a verbal commitment from ESPN 60 junior power forward Darius Bazley on Saturday. Here's a look at what the versatile forward will bring to Columbus.
Why he committed: Bazley is considered the No. 1 prospect in Ohio's 2018 class. Ohio State has committed themselves to trying to build a stronger "fence" around the state. Given that the 2018 class in Ohio is relatively strong, Bazley became a very high priority recruit. OSU began recruiting Darius very hard in June and it all culminated with a commitment this weekend. Bazley chose the Buckeyes over Michigan, Florida, Cincinnati, West Virginia and Xavier.
What he brings: Darius is a skilled and versatile forward. He could play the 4 or the 3 in head coach Thad Matta's system. Right now he projects as the Marc Loving/Keita Bates-Diop style 4-man that can stretch the defense from the perimeter. He is an improving outside shooter with range currently to 17 feet. What the lefty is best at is grabbing rebounds and pushing the break himself. He is a good ballhandler, slasher, passer and creator for a forward.
How he fits: Bazley can give an added dimension to OSU with his ability to attack the defense from the power forward position. He is a mismatch on the perimeter because of his length and skill level. Loving and Bates-Diop are the only stretch 4 men on the current roster and Loving is a senior this season. Bazley would instantly be at least an immediate rotation player as the roster stands today.
How the class is shaping: The class of 2018 is relatively strong in the state of Ohio and OSU already has three commitments from it. ESPN 60 SG Dane Goodwin is a tough wing and a good shooter. Guard Justin Ahrens, who also pledged to the Buckeyes on Saturday, is another wing that can really shoot. Bazley adds size and versatility. 2018 is looking to be a very good class for Ohio State with 2 commitments from the ESPN Super 60 already.
Who he reminds us of: Bazley is a skilled lefty forward who is an improving shooter from distance. His ability to put the ball on the floor and create makes him special. Think of a mini version of Lamar Odom. Bazley has a great upside and if he continues to grow and improve he could be a difference maker at the next level.