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Imagining a Fit at Ohio State for 5-Star Kobi Simmons

Photo: 247Sports

Ohio State has landed some major recruits the last few years and the Buckeyes could be set to get another one.

Recently, elite 2016 guard Kobi Simmons announced his final three schools and the Buckeyes were fortunate enough to make the cut. The other schools included were Kentucky and UNLV.

Simmons comes out of Alpharetta, Georgia and is rated as a five-star prospect by ESPN. The site also slates him as the top player in the state, the No. 18 player in the nation, and as the fourth best point guard in the 2016 recruiting class.

Though ESPN currently lists Simmons as a point guard, he is probably more of a combo guard in reality. Not only because he can he punish defenses with his handle, ability to spot up shoot, and his ability to initiate the offense, but also because he can also play off the ball. Simmons uses his great athleticism to create in transition, get behind defenses in half court, and play around the rim.

It may be a lofty comparison, but Simmons truly does have some significant similarities to last year’s Buckeye phenom, D’Angelo Russell. Both are great with the ball in their hands and can not only find teammates consistently, but are also willing to take over when needed.

Of course, there are certainly differences between Simmons and Russell as well. Simmons is probably a bit longer and more athletic and Russell might have a better feel and a quicker release. Nonetheless, for Buckeye fans, that’s a comparison that gets the blood boiling. Russell went from a true freshman to an All-American last season and was a huge reason Ohio State made the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

So when Simmons took his official visit to Columbus, guess who Ohio State got to show up?

D’Angelo Russell, of course.

Sure, Kentucky has its rabid fanbase and UNLV has the luxuries that only a city like Las Vegas can provide, but it’s hard to imagine much topping Simmon’s trip to Columbus. After all, a trip on a fall Saturday to watch Big Ten football with an NBA Lottery pick sounds incredible.

Of course, even with such a great visit environment, projecting where a five-star prospect will end up is like guessing the weather. Even when the experts say it’s going to be sunny, it ends up raining anyway. There are just too much factors involved.

Still, the Buckeyes have to like the odds.

If Simmons does ultimately choose to head to Columbus next fall, it could have massive ramifications for Ohio State, the Big Ten, and the national discussion. After all, even though Ohio State may be set for a rebuilding season in 2015-16, the program should already be in great shape when Simmons would be set to arrive.

Read about Ohio State’s frontcourt options for next season.

To start, Jae’Sean Tate would likely still be on the roster. Considering that Tate made the All-Big Ten Freshman team last year and would have two more years to develop before Simmons arrives, it’s not hard to think that he would be a really solid player heading into the 2016-17 season.

Along with that, the Buckeyes brought in two great recruiting classes in 2014 and 2015 that would have plenty of experience and time to develop. The 2014 group included players like Keita Bates-Diop and David Bell and the 2015 class features five commitments including three prospects in the ESPN100.

That’s a lot of talent and depth to work with for 2016-17.

However, it’s when the 2016 class is added that things really reach that next level. Tate has shown plenty of potential and incoming prospects like AJ Harris and JaQuan Lyle could contribute early on, but the Buckeyes still need that one star to elevate it to the next level and Simmons could easily be that player.

There’s still a lot of uncertainty about how Ohio State will look over the next few seasons, but if the Buckeyes are able to reel in a commitment from Kobi Simmons, this could be a roster that goes from young and inexperienced to absolutely loaded for the 2016-17 season.

After all, if Simmons can follow in D’Angelo Russell’s shoes, it could be a heck of a ride in Columbus for Buckeye fans.

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