Oct. 11, 2013

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Video (Head Coach Thad Matta)
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COLUMBUS, Ohio– The Ohio State men’s basketball team met with the media in its annual media day Thursday. Along with the upperclassmen, head coach Thad Matta was available and spoke about the Buckeyes’ progress and the team’s expectations.

2013-14 Ohio State Men’s Basketball Media Day
Oct. 10, 2013
Value City Arena
Columbus, Ohio

Thad Matta, Ohio State head coach
On the development of junior LaQuinton Ross
“LaQuinton finished last season on a high note and he has a better idea of what he needed to do and how much we need him to do it this season. He has a broader view offensively. He is more patient and seeing things. That is his jump from freshman to sophomore year.”

On junior Amir Williams
“We’re looking for consistency over greatness. Give us consistent, solid basketball. He is in his best shape right now.”

Aaron Craft, senior guard
On beginning his senior campaign
“It’s gone by fast, but I’ve loved very moment I’ve been here. Lenzelle [Smith Jr.] and I are trying to make the most of this last year. We really think the best is ahead of us.”

On filling the void after the loss of Deshaun Thomas
“As a team, we’ve done a great job this summer and understand we just need to shoot the ball better. You can’t just replace him with one guy. If we elevate our shooting percentage it will open up countless opportunities offensively.”

Lenzelle Smith Jr., senior guard
On becoming a leader
“When we’re in a tough situation and it’s crunch time, I know I’m the guy who needs to step up. It comes very naturally. The team looks up to Aaron and me because we’re the only two seniors now and we need to lead by example.”

On the NCAA tournament run last season
“We’re never going to forget it and I know I’ll use it as a flame to start up this season.”

LaQuinton Ross, junior forward
On his roll this season
“I’m going to step up to do whatever I have to do for our team to win, whether that is scoring or improving on defense.”

On off-season preparations
“I’ve been working on my lateral and have become stronger through a lot of conditioning. If I want to play those big minutes, I need to be better conditioned to do so.”

On using the NCAA tournament run as motivation for this season
“It’s not the loss that motivates me, it’s understanding what’s out there now. I know what this team wants to do and I know we can be the ones standing there in the end. The coaches have us taking this season one step at a time.”

Sam Thompson, junior forward
On the importance of improving the team’s shooting ability
“When you’re able to consistently shoot a jump shot it opens up so many other parts of your game. You can create more for yourself and your teammates.”

On the physicality and competitive nature of the Big Ten Conference
“We want to make sure as a team we’re better conditioned so we can compete each time we step out on the floor. We can’t have some nights off like last season. We need to be ready to play every game.”

Amedeo Della Valle, sophomore guard
On prepping for the season
“Since I’ve been back I’ve really worked on becoming comfortable with my teammates. I didn’t get a ton of opportunities to play with them last year, so this summer has been important for building our chemistry.”

On importance of chemistry
“It is very, very important to feel comfortable playing with your teammates. You need to be able to understand what they want from you and communicate what you want from them in order to be successful.”

Amir Williams, junior center
On becoming an offensive threat in the post
“Just being able to have go-to moves on the block has really opened up my game offensively. I’m also going to be a lot more aggressive this year.”

On development of Trey McDonald
“Trey and I have both been putting in a lot of time this off-season on becoming bigger scoring threats in the post. We both have the potential to be forces in the post.”

On consistency
“A point of emphasis for me this season will be proving to everyone how much I love the game of basketball and making sure it never looks like I’m taking plays off.”

Shannon Scott, junior guard
On lessons learned from last season
“We had a great run at the end of last year, going on an 11-game winning streak. That streak taught us what we have to do to win games right away. We won’t need half a year this season to figure it out.”

On how this team is different from last season
“This year we’re going to have a more even attack, because we don’t have that one guy who consistently gets the ball and drops 20 or 30 points. We feel it will make it harder on defenses because they’ll have to pay close attention to all five guys on the court at all times.”