Over the next several weeks, I'll be taking a look at each player on the Ohio State roster, and forecasting what that player's impact will be for the coming season. I will be not be including JaQuan Lyle or Jae'Sean Tate, as both players have already been covered in-depth. Fellow BT Powerhouse writer Jerome Scherwin Jr. wrote about Lyle here, and I wrote about Tate here. So today we'll start with incoming freshman Austin Grandstaff.
There have been more than a few comparisons made between the Ohio State's 2015 recruiting class and the legendary "Thad Five". The "Thad Five", comprised of Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Othello Hunter, David Lighty, and Daequan Cook, found immense success in college. The incoming class of Lyle, Grandstaff, Daniel Giddens, AJ Harris, and Mickey Mitchell certainly hope to equal that success, but whether that happens or not still remains to be seen.
Grandstaff is the best shooter of the bunch, and is one of the best shooters in his class. ESPN has him ranked as the #17 shooting guard and #50 overall. As a senior, he led Rockwall High School (Texas) in scoring with 29 points per game, and even dropped 50 in a game. For his efforts, he was selected to play in the Jordan Brand Classic. And though Grandstaff had a forgettable game, just being selected at all means big things are expected of him at the next level.
How He'll Fit at Ohio State
Grandstaff will likely start the season coming off the bench, backing up Kam Williams. However, it would not be surprising to see Grandstaff play his way into the starting lineup before season's end.
Because he is a white kid with a silky-smooth shooting motion, Grandstaff is sometimes unfairly labeled "just a shooter". But Grandstaff is much more than that. He can score in a variety of ways: spotting up, coming of screens, slashing to the basket, and using a high screen and roll. Grandstaff didn't play on a great team in high school (Rockwall was just 12-17 last season), and that negatively affected his shooting numbers. As a guy who was often both a primary ball handler and primary scorer, Grandstaff constantly had to deal with multiple defenders at once. With that in mind, his 40/33/79 shooting splits don't mean that he can't shoot the ball well--and it's actually pretty impressive considering the circumstances.
At Ohio State, Grandstaff will rarely be the first priority for opposing defenses. With time and space to operate, he can provide instant offense off the bench. Think of Grandstaff as a more athletic Jon Diebler. He is lethal from behind the arc (with NBA range), but far from a one-trick pony. He's a one-man zone-buster, and an expert at using screens against a man-to-man look.
With only four guards on Ohio State's roster (Lyle, Harris, and Williams are the others), there will be no shortage of opportunities for Grandstaff to prove himself--even with Thad Matta's reputation for playing a short bench. Again, it wouldn't surprise me to see Grandstaff in the starting lineup at some point in the season, as his offensive contributions should force Matta to give him a lot of minutes.