Another big one got away from Ohio State men’s basketball coach Thad Matta.
Nevertheless, Matta is bringing in another highly rated class of recruits this week that he hopes will keep the program among college basketball’s elite when his current junior class leaves.
Shortly after Pickerington Central senior Jae’Sean Tate became the first official member of the Buckeyes’ 2014 class yesterday, on the first day of the weeklong early signing period, 6-foot-10 center Payton Dastrup of Mesa, Ariz., revealed that he had rescinded his commitment and would sign instead with Brigham Young.
Dastrup had committed to the Buckeyes just last week. He notified Matta on Monday night that he had changed his mind, said Dastrup’s father, David.
“It wasn’t until after he made the decision (to commit to Ohio State) that he realized in his heart of hearts that you could take him out of BYU, but you couldn’t take his childhood experiences with BYU out of him,” David Dastrup said.
David, a BYU graduate and former hockey player there, said his son grew up a BYU fan and attended numerous sporting events and summer sports camps there.
“He has not lived around BYU, but there have been a lot of experiences,” he said. “He thought he could separate himself from (that) and be fully committed to be a Buckeye.”
Payton Dastrup would not have played for OSU until 2016, anyway, because he plans to go on a two-year Mormon mission after he graduates from high school in June.
Regardless, he is the latest in a series of top-100 post prospects to spurn the Buckeyes. If they are unable to land 6-11 Myles Turner of Bedford, Texas, in the spring — and they are rated a long shot — this would be the third consecutive recruiting class Matta has not signed an elite big man.
Dave Bell, an unranked 6-9 center from Garfield Heights, Ohio, signed with Ohio State yesterday, but recruiting analysts say he must develop more before he is ready to play at the major-college level.
Reggie Rankin, a former college assistant coach now a recruiting analyst for ESPN.com, said the Buckeyes still could get a contributor during the late signing period in April and May.
“You’ve got to go out and turn the rocks and see what’s out there, maybe a (junior-college transfer), or an overseas kid, or maybe a (high-school senior) gets better during the year and fits what you’re looking for,” he said. “Or maybe get a transfer (from another four-year school). There’s always going to be some (coaching) changes somewhere.”
Ohio State did not release the names of any players from whom it received signed letters of intent yesterday, but The Dispatch confirmed the signings of Bell, Tate, a 6-5 wing forward, and Keita Bates-Diop, a 6-7 wing forward from Bloomington, Ill.
The highest rated commitment to the class, 6-4 guard D’Angelo Russell of Louisville, Ky., did not respond to text messages asking for confirmation he had signed, nor did his coach at Montverde Academy in Florida.
With Russell assumed to be in the fold, the Buckeyes’ class is ranked No. 3 nationally by a consensus of recruiting services. But that could change Friday after several top-10 prospects announce their choices.