Breakout Class: Ohio State

Breakout Class: Ohio State
Breakout Class: Ohio StateMakayla Waterman
Editor’s Note: The Breakout Class series will highlight and analyze some of the nation’s programs making a big jump, not necessarily the top ranked classes overall.

The new coaching staff at Ohio State is putting together a breakout 2015 recruiting class.

Coach Kevin McGuff and his staff locked down a top five class in their first year on the recruiting trail for Ohio State. The Buckeyes are back on the map as a contender in the game of women’s basketball by landing the No. 1 player in the country and a supporting cast to match. On the heels of a 2013 recruiting class where no players were signed, McGuff looked to quickly replenish the talent in Columbus and bring the program to the top of the Big Ten Conference. Thus far, he and his staff have been able to keep some of the best talent from leaving the state and have made a huge splash on the national scene.

Brandon Clay and Marques Burnett team up to discuss Ohio State's Breakout Class:

The No. 1 player in 2014 ELITE 150, Kelsey Mitchell of Princeton, Ohio, gave her verbal commitment to McGuff at the conclusion of the July viewing period. Mitchell’s sister, Chelsea Mitchell, a three-star wing in her own right, also committed, immediately putting Ohio State in the discussion for one of the top recruiting classes in the country. To match the backcourt talent of the Mitchell sisters, the Buckeyes secured frontcourt commitments from No. 21 Alexa Hart of Columbus, Ohio, and No. 35 Makayla Waterman of Kettering, Ohio. The four players together easily make their recruiting class one of the best classes this year.

No. 1 ranked senior Kelsey Mitchell. *Photo by Ty

By the time this class steps onto the court in the Jerome Schottenstein Center, the roster will be nearly emptied of major contributors from previous seasons. The stage will be set for Kelsey Mitchell to enter as the immediate focal point of a program who will be looking for a new identity. The 5-foot-7 scoring guard is more than capable of providing points and playmaking ability for anyone in the country. Expect the five-star prospect to step onto campus and make an immediate impact with her ability to create offense. Mitchell has proven over the years that she is a dynamic scorer who can be un-guardable when she is dialed in. Not only will Mitchell be able to make Ohio State competitive again, but her impact makes the Buckeyes a threat to make deep runs into the post season.

Ohio State will not be able to make these aforementioned runs on the back of Mitchell alone. This recruiting class provides depth and versatility. To complement Mitchell’s scoring, Hart, at 6-4, provides an equal defensive presence in the lane. The third ranked post in the country swats shots within an impressive radius from under the rim. Her upside on the offensive end is equally as intriguing giving, Mitchell a potential interior threat to keep defenses honest. However, the player that will cement the offense in the half court will be Waterman. Although she stands at all of 6-2, she is arguably the premier passer in the country from the high post.

No. 21 Alexa Hart.
*Photo by Ty Freeman.

McGuff and his staff, which includes the Mitchell’s father, Mark, who was conference coach of the year eight times as the boys coach at Taft High School in Cincinnati, Joy Cheek, former Duke standout and assistant coach and Patrick Klein, a 2005 Ohio State alum who was on staff with prior coach Jim Foster, has been able to collect three of the top players at their particular skill in the nation. This haul will make the Buckeyes a threat to challenge for a conference championship.

With a gap in the previous recruiting class, the Buckeyes still have flexibility to take a few more players in 2014. They have been recruiting Waterman’s longtime teammate, Kathryn Westbeld of Kettering, Ohio, who is ranked No. 33 in the ELITE 150. Also the Buckeyes have been linked to No. 9 Gabby Green, a guard from Oakland, Calif, No. 32 Kristen Simon, a 6-2 post from Los Angeles, Calif., and No. 47 Asia Doss, a 5-7 guard from Detroit, Mich. Any of those prospects would add another elite weapon alongside the already stellar class and accelerate the rebuilding process into hyper drive.

The Buckeyes are poised to burst back onto the national scene as a contender within the game of women’s basketball. The new staff in Columbus will try to keep the momentum on the recruiting trail for years to come. In the meantime, head coach Kevin McGuff has hit a homerun on the recruiting trail without even coaching a game in scarlet and gray.

2014 Recruiting Class Rankings-September 16

Hemingway is the Assistant Director of Scouting for the National Scouting Report. He can be reached at

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