In the arms race that has become Big Ten basketball, Thad Matta is hoping to get ahead of the game with a long-armed project in the class of 2014.
A day after making an unofficial visit for Ohio State’s game with Indiana, Garfield Heights big man Dave Bell was offered and accepted a scholarship from the Buckeyes, becoming the third player in the class of 2014 to commit to Matta’s program.
Bell is averaging 17 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks a game at Garfield Heights, perennially one of the top programs in the Cleveland area. He entered the season as a mid-level prospect who previously visited Xavier and Kent State, but he’s been growing — physically and as a player — and will now point towards a career in the Big Ten.
“He has a lot of growing still to do,” Garfield Heights coach Sonny Johnson said Monday night, “but his upside is ridiculous.”
Bell has grown around three inches over the past year or so, to 6’10, and has steadily improved since transferring to Garfield Heights from the Cleveland Municipal School District at the start of last school year. He’s getting his game and his grades in order and could end up being a chance worth taking for Matta’s program.
“He’s long, he’s lanky, he blocks shots with both hands and he’s really just figuring it all out,” Johnson said. “To think he’d be at Ohio State based on where he’s come from is crazy. But if he keeps taking the challenge and working at it, he could end up being really, really good.”