Tag:Thad Matta
Posted on: December 19, 2011 5:32 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 5:34 pm

Matta says Sullinger will play Tuesday vs. Lamar

By Jeff Goodman

Looks like Thad Matta doesn't come to this space all that often.

My suggestion to the Ohio State coach was that he shut down his star big man, Jared Sullinger, for the time being. Let him relax over the holidays and sit out tomorrow night against Lamar and later this week against Miami (Ohio).

However, Matta told the media this afternoon that Sullinger, who has battled back spasms and now a foot injury already this season, will play on Tuesday.

It makes no sense.

The last we saw Sullinger he was hobbling off the court on crutches, shortly after his team defeated South Carolina.

That was Saturday.

It was diagnosed officially as a bone bruise to his foot and I may be overreacting, but there's just no reason to risk throwing out there the guy who will ultimately determine whether you can make a deep run in March.

Let him sit back and listen to Christmas music. Just take it slow.

Evidently, Matta disagrees.
Posted on: December 17, 2011 5:31 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2011 6:01 pm

Jared Sullinger's holiday gift? Relaxation

By Jeff Goodman

Jared Sullinger gave up late-night snacks and his favorite foods this past summer and shed about 25 pounds of baby fat in an effort to become more versatile and increase his stamina. He was primed for a huge season. Instead, he's caught the injury bug.

The once-rotund Ohio State sophomore big man, who entered the season as the frontrunner for National Player of the Year honors, missed last weekend's loss at Kansas with back spams and then suffered a bone bruise in his foot today. He's listed as day-to-day, but if I'm Thad Matta, I'm going to be extra cautious because the Buckeyes have no shot at going to the Final Four without Sully. None. Sullinger said via twitter that he's fine -- and will be "back at it tomorrow."

I'm no doctor, but I'd sit him for the next three games - all home contests - to make sure he gets right. Really right. Up next Tuesday is Lamar, then comes Miami (Ohio) followed by the Big Ten opener against Northwestern. Even if the Buckeyes happen to lose two of them, it's no big deal. Maybe they wind up being a No. 2 seed instead of a No. 1. It's not worth the risk.

All that truly matters is to have Sullinger's back and foot issues behind him when the ball drops in Times Square, signaling the 2012. The ideal approach to do that is to give him a couple weeks off. Sure, it could also cost Sullinger Player of the Year honors. But that's irrelevant in the bigger picture - which is having a chance to win a national title.

With a healthy Sullinger, Ohio State can compete with anyone in the country. They have a terrific point guard in Aaron Craft, a big-time scoring wing in William Buford - and Deshaun Thomas showed his offensive capabilities by exploding for 30 in Saturday's win at South Carolina. Matta understands this better than anyone -- dealing with injuries to star players. Greg Oden went through it in his time in Columbus and Evan Turner's back cost him significant time. Those guys were able to come back healthy when it mattered most.

Let's hope Sullinger is as fortunate.
Posted on: October 26, 2011 11:08 am

Aaron Craft looking to end Ohio State's drought

By Jeff Goodman

Aaron Craft makes no excuses. He didn't take chemistry as seriously as he should have.

He received a B-plus last fall.

It was the first time he had ever received anything of the non-A variety in school.


Craft has a 3.86 GPA and is looking to become the first Ohio State Academic All-American since way back in 1968 (Bill Hoskett).

Let's face it: There aren't many holes when it comes to Craft.

He's a big-time student who wants to major in pre-med, he's a terrific, unselfish point guard who is also a big-time defender and Thad Matta calls him the toughest kid he's ever coached.

"I think Coach was just being nice," Craft said of Matta's compliment.

But Ohio State video coordinator Greg Paulus, the former Duke point guard and Syracuse quarterback, also said Craft's work ethic is up there with anyone else he's seen.

"His commitment is up there with anyone I've ever played with," Paulus said.

Craft even recently - just for the heck of it - decided to observe the team doctor while he performed a shoulder scope and also an ACL surgery.

He said he was fine for the first half of the procedure, but then got woozy and had to leave the room as the doctor was pulling out a tendon.

"I got light-headed," Craft laughed. "I had to sit down and walk out of the room."

Then Craft returned to see the second tendon removed.

On the court, Craft knows he'll need to step up this season with the departure of Jon Diebler and David Lighty - especially in the leadership department. He also doesn't want defenders to go underneath screens, a sign of disrespecting his perimeter shot.

"Guys played off me," Craft admitted. "It'll help us as a team if they aren't able to do that this year."
Posted on: January 24, 2011 10:15 am
Edited on: January 24, 2011 4:01 pm

Coach Speak: Will league jumpers fire coaches?

Don't look back, Doc, they might be gaining on you.

Posted by Eric Angevine

Hot Seat

Today, rather than calling out a specific coach who's dragging tail (I'll get back to that next week), I have a philosophical question for you, the reader. I hope you'll give your thoughts in the comment section.

Following this most recent round of conference roulette, several men's basketball coaches are heading to new challenges despite rather disappointing results for their programs this season. My question is: if you're making a big change already, do you let the new guy have a shot at recruiting for the next league, or do you fire him and start fresh with someone new? I'll give my thoughts on a few of those coaches below.

Doc Sadler, Nebraska - Kenneth Sadler has been Nebraska's head coach since 2006. He had a couple of nice seasons at UTEP before taking the job, and had three straight winning seasons after taking over. Those records never got him above 7th place in the Big 12, however. Last season the team fell off a cliff and ended up dead last, and this season's lineup is still wildly inconsistent, especially after Christian Standhardinger's bizarre story unfolded. As the Huskers head into the Big Ten, it's time for new management. There are plenty of current Big Ten assistants who look mighty attractive and know the recruiting grounds.

Tad Boyle, Colorado - Tad is in his first season at CU, and despite some recent stumbles, his ability to win some road games in the Big 12 is a great sign for the Buffs' chances at hitting the ground running in the Pac-10. Obviously, you stick with this guy and see what he can do.

Jim Boylen, Utah - Boylen is probably the toughest case here. He has been a top assistant with the Houston Rockets and Michigan State Spartans, but his record with Utah is not great. He has one NCAA appearance in four seasons in the Mountain West, and he's currently clinging to a perfect .500 record: 10-10 overall and 3-3 in conference. Boylen may be able to make hay with recruiting now that this team is moving to greener pastures, so unless there's a home-run hire out there this summer, I think I'd stick with him and give him a chance.

Of the WAC teams that are moving on, I'd say everyone but 6th-year Fresno State head coach Steve Cleveland is safe.

Thoughts? Wishes? Coffee-fueled rants? Deposit them below.

Quotable Coaches

“When they see Georgia Tech on the shirt, if they are open, it’s going in. I promise you. At halftime, I was thinking, 'seven for eight.' You can put teams in a gym by themselves that wide open, and they are not going to make seven out of eight.”

-Yellow Jacket head coach Paul Hewitt talks about his team’s perimeter woes after Virginia shot 66.7 percent from deep to earn a 72-64 win.

"I really think the single biggest stat in the game was Tristan Thompson's five blocks. Those were all huge plays."

-Rick Barnes credits defensive effort in Texas’ streak-snapping road win over Kansas

“I don’t know why Jordan got one. I don’t know why Marcus got one. I don’t know why J’Covan and Josh got those at the end. Gosh dang, I mean, there’s more dialogue with negative with this guy talking to his best friend than some of those things.”

-Bill Self reacts to the four technical fouls called in Texas’ upset of Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse

“He kept shanking the ball, and he kept blaming the clubs. And the clubs are all bent up. We had a heckuva time. There were a couple of Humvees 150 yards away. That’s what we were aiming at. There were no flags. You had to hit the anti-bomb craft.”

-Dayton coach Brian Gregory recalls a round of golf he and Fordham head coach Tom Pecora played with troops in Iraq two years ago

“When Kevin first approached me on it, I said to Kevin, ‘I’d rather not make that call. I’d rather you stay put. I think you have a great team at Iona and I’d rather you stay put and wait.’ My first conversation with him was discouraging.”

-Rick Pitino explains how he tried to talk his former assistant Kevin Willard out of taking the job at Louisville’s Big East rival Seton Hall

"We just can't score.”

-Auburn head coach Tony Barbee puts his finger on the problem that has Auburn winless in the SEC

“We thought it would be good for our guys to pay respects to the people that dug the well for this program, so to speak,”

-Sidney Lowe describes his team’s visit to the gravesites of legendary N.C. State coaches Everett Case and Jim Valvano.

"For me, he's the hardest cover since Ike Diogu was at Arizona State. We just really tried to find ways to get Ike locked up in a closet before we played them or something. He was such a difficult to cover, and Derrick Williams is becoming just like that. He's hard to deal with."

-Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar heaps praise on Arizona star Derrick Williams

We also have a couple of links to some longer videos that offer some insight into coaching at the mid-major level. The Sioux Falls Argus Leader has video of Fort Wayne coach Dane Fife after his team took a tough road swing through the Dakotas. AExtra has a nice look inside the coaching life of Boston University's Pat Chambers.

On our video today, we hear from legend-in-the-making Thad Matta, discussing his team's ascension to 20-0 on the season.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com