The weather was perfect, the campus looked terrific, and Jeff Boals cleaned up in his first big home weekend as the Bobcats’ new head coach.
Ohio University men’s basketball secured four verbal commitments — three scholarship players and a preferred walk-on — out of five player visits during the last weekend.
It was a big weekend for Ohio, which entered the spring signing period with six scholarship openings for the 2019-20 season. The Bobcats landed three big scorers and has presumably set the table for the future with a core of young guards and wings.
Here’s who said 'yes' to the Bobcats after the weekend visits. All three of the scholarship players were expected to sign their binding National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, April 17 — the first day of the spring signing period.
Ben Roderick (6-5 SF), Olentangy Liberty
The Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year, Roderick is a gifted natural scorer and rebounded quickly — and well — from a torn ACL injury suffered in January 2018.
Roderick averaged 27.9 ppg, 7.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game for Liberty in 2018-19, and helped lead his team to the semifinals of the Division I OHSAA Tournament in Columbus.
Roderick had been hoping to score an offer from in-state powers Ohio State and/or Xavier, but when those didn’t materialize Ohio became the front-runner for his services. Ohio had been recruiting Roderick for two years, and Roderick was the first offer made by Boals when he became the Bobcats’ head coach.
Roderick was rated a three-star prospect by 247sports.com (89 rating), and was graded as the seventh-best player in Ohio and 222nd nationally for the 2019 class.
Marvin Price (6-4 G/F), Patterson HS, Baltimore, Maryland
Price is another high-scoring threat off the wing and twice led his high school team to Baltimore City and Class 2A state titles in Maryland. Price was a First Team All-Metro (Baltimore) selection this year after averaging 21.4 point and 10.3 rebounds per game for the Clippers.
Price, who spent part of one high school season at Huntington (W.Va.) Prep, came up big in the state title game with 31 points and 10 rebounds. He was also rated an 89 by 247sports.com (3 stars), and rated the fifth-best player in Maryland and 205th best player nationally in the 2019 class.
Price had interest from a number of ACC schools, but is believed to have turned down a Boston College offer to join Ohio.
Miles Brown (6-1, PG), Northstar Christian Academy, Rochester, N.Y.
Brown is the highest scorer, among a trio of scorers, in this group. Brown blistered the nets for 2,914 points during his high school career, including an incredible 33.8 points per game as a senior in 2018-19.
Brown is the leading scoring in Section V history in New York, and finished as third-leading scorer in New York high school history.
Brown was unrated by 247sports.com, but was on Boals’ radar early. Brown had a previous offer from Stony Brook, and was also weighing interest from Cansius and Niagra.
Michael Brown (6-1, G), Northstar Christian Academy, Rochester, N.Y.
Michael Brown is Miles’ twin brother, and will join his brother at Ohio as a preferred walk-on. Michael played alongside his brother at Northstar, which picked up consecutive Class C state titles before moving up to Class A for 2018-19.
Bringing it all together
Roderick, Price and Brown will join Lunden McDay — who signed last fall with Ohio — as members of the 2019 recruiting class. McDay, who averaged 16 points, six rebounds and four assists at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s last year, is a 6-3 guard that helped the Irish to a pair of a state titles before a state runner-up finish in March.
The four additions leave Ohio with three scholarship openings for the 2018-19 season. The Bobcats are still in the market for a center, and front-court depth, and are expected to be looking hard at junior college and graduate student transfers to help fill the void there.
As it is right now, Ohio appears to have been successful in its efforts to land a plethora of young, offense-oriented wings and guards to help populate Boals’ preferred ‘three-wing’ approach.
Ohio assistant Lamar Thornton, Boals’ first staff hire at Ohio and a transplant from his Stony Brook staff, was instrumental in helping bring the early batch of commitments into the fold.
Ohio hasn’t officially announced the remainder of Boals’ first coaching staff but it is essentially in place now.
Thornton and Jake Ness (Director of Basketball Operations) have been officially announced. On staff, but not yet officially recognized are assistants Kyle Barlow and Steve Snell.
Barlow comes to Ohio after spending the last five years at Toledo — where he was the director of operations for three years and then an assistant for the final two.
Barlow was a four-year letter winner and two-time captain as a player at Concordia University in Ann Arbor, Michigan (2006-10), then joined his alma mater as an assistant. From there, Barlow worked two years as a graduate manager at Michigan.
Snell will be the senior voice on the staff, and comes to Ohio with 29 years of college basketball coaching experience.
Snell spent the last three years coaching on the staff at Denver, and before that had two years as an associate head coach at Santa Clara. Snell had a seven-year stint at Air Force, including two years as an associate head coach.
Snell, from Radford, Virginia, and Boals have worked on the same staff before. Both were on the staff under Greg White at Marshall in the early 2000s.