Bob Hunter commentary | Rumblings: Ohio State men look for help in post

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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Ohio State fortified its front line in men’s basketball for next season when 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward Anthony Lee announced that he will transfer in after graduating from Temple in May. He has one season of eligibility remaining and will be eligible immediately.

But with no proven post players on the roster beyond next season, coaches aren’t done, which is why Trevor Thompson, a 7-foot freshman at Virginia Tech, is visiting this weekend. Thompson, from Indianapolis, will have three years of eligibility after sitting out next season.

He averaged 5.0 points and 4.7 rebounds in 16.2 minutes for the Hokies last season but decided to transfer after a coaching change.

Thompson also is planning visits to Indiana and Purdue, but his father, Ryan, told The Dispatchthat it is possible that his son could commit to Ohio State before taking the other visits, as Lee did. Ryan Thompson, a former Major League Baseball player who had a two-month stint with the Clippers in 2000, said Ohio State coach Thad Matta was “awesome” during a home visit on March 30.
 

Ever wonder who Urban Meyer’s closest friend is? The OSU football coach revealed that yesterday when asked about taking on Rutgers and Maryland in the expanded Big Ten.

“I have a lot of respect for both of those schools.” Meyer said. “I know more about Rutgers … because my closest friend (former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano) took Rutgers to a top-10 program. … I don’t know much about Maryland other than they’ve been very good over the years, and they’ve got a beautiful campus. I’ve been on it one time.”

No close friends there, apparently.

When the coach of the Lokomotiv Yaroslav team in Russia’s Continental Hockey League resigned with four games left in the regular season and Lokomotiv clinging to the final playoff spot, the team asked former Blue Jackets coach Dave King to take over.

King was the Phoenix Coyotes’ developmental coach at the time, and he jumped at the chance to return to Russia; he coached Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the Russian Super League in 2006. But even King probably couldn’t have imagined what happened.

After hanging on to make the playoffs, Lokomotiv knocked off regular-season champion Dynamo Moscow in the first round and then beat second-seed SKA St. Petersburg in the conference semifinals. It faced elimination yesterday, down three games to one to Lev Prague. Regardless, the team’s success has touched the community. Three years ago, a plane crash wiped out all but one member of the roster.

“It’s been a very emotional thing for fans and for people in the organization,” King, 66, told the Toronto Star. “It’s quite emotional for the fans to get to the final four and achieve something this year. When the games are over they just stay and cheer forever. My wife and I, when we walk downtown to get groceries, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stopped and posed with kids. You’re almost like a politician.”

Ryan Finley apparently isn’t happy to be with the Dayton Dutch Lions. The Crew’s first-round draft pick in 2013 was one of five players the team sent to the team’s United Soccer Leagues Pro division affiliate in mid-March, and he was a healthy scratch last Friday when Dayton played at Charlotte.

Sources in Dayton say Finley’s attitude and performance haven’t been good, leaving it open to question whether he will be on the field for tonight’s home opener against Rochester.

Only death could end Russell D. Finneran’s campaign for a statue of Chic Harley outside of Ohio Stadium. The retired Columbus attorney, who used to stand outside the stadium on game days telling fans stories of the school’s first three-time All-American and asking them to envision a statue of him there, died Monday at 83. He was a devoted Harley fan to the end.

“That never stopped,” his daughter, Ketti Finneran, said. “That passion did not diminish in any way, even after they retired jersey No. 47 for (Harley). In my generation, we know that as A.J. Hawk’s number, but he would stay for hours after the game, and ask people, ‘Do you know whose jersey that is?’ He was very passionate about making sure that the legacy continues.”

Russell got his passion honestly. His father, Russell P. Finneran, also was devoted Harley fan, and his uncle, Joe Finneran, was one of Harley’s college roommates and a close friend.

“My grandfather was just as passionate about it,” Ketti Finneran said. “In my grandparents’ house, there was a table in the living room that had pictures of the three grandchildren and right next to them was a signed photo of Chic Harley. It was like he was a member of the family.”

Bob Hunter is a sports columnist for The Dispatch.

bhunter@dispatch.com

@dailyhunter

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