There’s lots to like about this year’s version of the Ohio State men’s basketball team. They’ve got the dominant inside player in Jared Sullinger, the scrappy point guard in Aaron Craft, the steady senior scorer in William Buford, and the instant offense in Deshaun Thomas. They’ve got some talent on the bench, too. But for me the big revelation so far this season is Lenzelle Smith Jr.
Smith is a 6-4 guard, and he plays the game the way it should be played. He sweats and scrambles when he’s guarding an opposing player and looks like he eventually could be as versatile on the defensive end as David Lighty — who could guard just about anybody. Smith has a solid offensive game; he’s patient, unselfish, and doesn’t force shots. But where Smith really shines is in transition. I love watching #32 rip down a rebound and rush pell mell down the court, head up and looking to dish. He’s made some terrific passes, including some alley-oop lobs leading to rim-rattling, crowd-pleasing dunks.
Lenzelle Smith Jr. is the kind of player you need on your team if you hope to contend for championships. The Buckeyes play a tough schedule this year — Duke comes to town next week, for example — and they’ll need every defensive stop and transition bucket #32 can give them.