Ohio State men's basketball recruiting | Olentangy Liberty's Ben Roderick takes in Purdue game
Thursday will mark one year to the day that Ben Roderick’s path to Division I college basketball hit a detour. As a rising junior at Olentangy Liberty, Roderick had just put up 30 points in a win against Dublin Coffman at the Jared Sullinger Play-By-Play Hoops Classic at nearby Ohio Dominican when his season came to an abrupt halt when he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee.
Ever since then, the 6-foot-5 Roderick has been making up for lost time. With an eye on a winning a conference title and advancing to the district finals, Roderick is the leading scorer in Central Ohio entering Friday’s game against Westerville South at 29.7 points per game. And as an unsigned senior holding offers from a handful of schools from the Mid-American Conference, his recruitment is picking up with a pair of high-major, in-state schools.
On Jan. 13, Roderick was on an unofficial visit at Xavier to see the Musketeers host Butler. Wednesday night, he took the same trip to Ohio State to see the Buckeyes host Purdue.
“He’s got a lot of MAC offers and Ohio State and Xavier are sniffing on the outside right now,” Liberty coach Greg Nossaman told The Dispatch. “He went down to Xavier when they played Butler, and of course he got invited down to Ohio State. He wants to stay close to home, and I think that he’s just waiting on Ohio State and Xavier to see whoever pulls the trigger there.”
Neither school has yet offered Roderick, a three-star guard/wing prospect in the 247Sports.com composite rankings. Ohio State has signed a three-man recruiting class but has one available scholarship for next season after Micah Potter left the team days before the start of the season and ultimately transferred to Wisconsin.
The Badgers, too, have shown interest in Roderick, Nossaman said.
Despite the continued interest and ongoing evaluations of Roderick’s game, Nossaman said the early signing period was difficult for the senior on two fronts.
“I thought this one particular school was going to offer him and they did not and I thought he really thought so too and it looked like a balloon where he had anticipated it and it didn’t come through and the air came out,” the coach said. “His buddies that he’s played with all signed on that day, so there he is, who he thinks he’s probably better than a couple of his buddies who signed on that day, he’s kind of waiting for something a little bigger. Now he had those offers from Toledo, Akron and OU, but he decided to not take them to see what else a little higher was out there.”
Earning late scholarships is not unheard of but are often more the exception to the norm in today’s recruiting world. Andre Wesson, a junior for Ohio State from Westerville South, did not land a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes until after his senior season concluded and he played an instrumental role in leading the Wildcats to a Division I state title.
Nossaman said that he’s talked with Roderick about the situation and encouraged him to trust that putting together his best senior year possible will lead to bigger individual opportunities.
“He brings it every day in practice,” the coach said. “He’s one of our captains. He leads by example. He’s usually one of the first guys here and the last one to leave. He wants to play at the highest level he can. He’s going to graduate at 17 years old. His birthday’s not until June. I think his best basketball is ahead of him. He’s gotten better each year. He’s our go-to guy.”
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann has been non-committal on whether or not he might add a fourth member to his 2019 recruiting class. Nossaman, who is longtime friends with Ohio State assistant and Bexley native Ryan Pedon, said it’s not clear whether or not the Buckeyes will offer the senior a scholarship.
Only time will tell.
“I think Ohio State’s right there (with interest),” Nossaman said. “They’ve got their class coming in, with Potter leaving they’ve got that extra scholarship. Are they going to use it for somebody else? There’s a lot of dynamics.
“He wants to go to Ohio State, I would think. They’re evaluating him, and they’re not in a hurry. I keep telling Ben, the more success we have as a team, the more success you’ll have. The further we go in the tournament and people see you play against big-time competition, that’s all going to help you down the road.”