Happy Thanksgiving, Hive Nation! Welcome to your special holiday edition of the Thursday Morning Hive. We’re just a little over 48 hours from the end of the 2012 Ohio State football season, which…well, it blows. But hopefully we can squeeze a bit more enjoyment out of it by winning Hate Week. The Buckeyes have already posted revenge wins over Penn State, Purdue, Nebraska and Michigan State. One more to go. TTUN won last year’s meeting when Braxton Miller overshot DeVier Posey late in the fourth quarter. Brax is a sophomore now and still a bit inconsistent in the passing game, but he’s no longer a first-time starter in The Game. Also, he’ll be at home. I think we’re all hoping that Tom Herman and Urban Meyer pull out all the stops for this final game.
I won’t waste your time like a story about Illinois going to the SEC because it’s a holiday and your time is valuable. I can tell you that my favorite Buckeye of all time, Mr. Buckstache himself, Chris Spielman, was deservedly named the recipient of the B1G’s Dungy-Thompson Humanitarian Award. The conference announced Spielman’s award yesterday, nearly three years to the day that his wife Stefanie passed away. Spielman has been a tireless worker for Stefanie’s foundation and has raised millions for cancer research. We applaud his work off the field as much as we did his work on it. He’ll cap off the emotional week by calling The Game with partner Sean McDonough this Saturday afternoon. Let’s Hive:
St. John Arena to be Put Down and I Has a Sad
As a student who had season tickets for basketball during the Jimmy Jackson era, it is extremely hard for me to swallow the fact that St. John Arena will be demolished at an as-yet-undesignated-but-not-too-distant time in the future. St. John Arena’s atmosphere was perfect for college hoops. It was loud and intimidating and worth a few wins a year when the team wasn’t actually worthy of them. It, and the crowd within, combined to make a formidable sixth man. My student tickets one year were in the very top row of the upper deck. My roommate and I found that we could stand on our seats and bang on the duct work with our hands, adding whatever we could to the decibel levels raining down on the court below. Others in our row took their cues from us and did the same. It was deafening. Walking home after a game, my ears would ring as if I’d been at a particularly loud rock concert.
Still, when demand for basketball tickets grew, I didn’t disagree with the need for a new arena. The year after my season tickets were in the top row, the university split student season tickets to half the season. Demand was growing and Ohio State needed a bigger venue with the kind of amenities that would bring in top recruits from around the country. They accomplished that by building The Schott. But at the same time, that forbidding atmosphere was lost. Ticket demand for cupcake opponents or during student vacation time waned to embarrassingly low levels. Some nights Value City Arena is a giant tomb. The way the team has played over the past several seasons is worthy of nightly sellouts, but they haven’t come. But it’s all part of the process of building a better basketball culture in Columbus and it will come eventually with a guy like Thad Matta running the show and getting results.
Yesterday the university announced a $10 million donation has been made for a new arena by Covelli Enterprises owner/CEO Sam Covelli. The donation—the largest ever by a single private donor to the OSU athletic department—will make a new 4,000-seat arena possible. The new Covelli Arena will house wrestling, volleyball, gymnastics and a few other sports, and may also host some women’s basketball games. The Covelli family will present a ceremonial check to OSU President Gordon Gee at halftime of The Game on Saturday. If you’re attending, cheer for the growth of campus, an upgrade in facilities for non-revenue sports, and a shiny new building to admire. But also say a prayer for the soul of St. John Arena, because if any building other than The Horseshoe ever had a soul of its own, it was SJA.
Buckeyes Add Two Basketball Verbal Commits for 2014
This is a few days late, but hey, I was sick so please forgive me. Thad Matta has added a pair of 4-star forwards in Keita Bates-Diop from Normal, IL (University High) and Jae’Sean Tate from Pickerington. These additions will be fun for bloggers, what with all the hyphens and apostrophes and such. Most of us are still struggling over whether or not to capitalize the ‘s’ in Deshaun.
Bates-Diop is a 6-7, 190-pounder who will need to add muscle and fill out that frame. He projects as a top power forward. He gave his verbal commitment on Sunday, becoming the first member of Matta’s 2014 class. With his size and ability to finish, he’ll be filling a position of need for the Buckeyes. Bates-Diop also held offers from TTUN, Indiana, Illinois, Purdue, Northwestern, DePaul and Kansas State. Here are some summer highlights:
Matta kept the 6-5, 200-pound Tate away from TTUN, as well. Tate, a top-50 recruit, also had offers from Purdue, Iowa, Xavier and Dayton. At his current size, Tate projects as a wing, possibly in the David Lighty mold, but with more offensive upside. However, he reportedly has a tall father and further growth could move him into more of a power forward position. Either way, Matta clearly saw future potential with Tate and he became the second OSU commit in a week. Here is a brief AAU highlight clip:
The women’s volleyball team fell 3-0 at No. 1 Penn State last night…It’s a bit late now, and has nothing to do with Cam Newton (as far as we know…yet, anyway) but Auburn could be in trouble and SHUT UP YOU’RE NOT EVEN SURPRISED AT ALL, ARE YOU?…Speaking of programs in trouble, the NCAA takes a novel approach with Miami and its yacht parties, strippers and abortions…Penn State hoops gets awful news—star Tim Frazier is out for the year with a ruptured Achilles…Happy Thanksgiving everyone.