Jeremy Brevard-US PRESSWIRE
From now until the opening game on November 9th, Tomahawk Nation will be previewing the FSU basketball roster.
Michael Ojo is a large, large, human being. Luke Loucks told me that aside from Shaq, Ojo is the biggest person he's ever been around. He's listed at 7-1, 290 pounds, and reportedly has a 7-8 wingspan. And those 290 pounds aren't pudge - this guy is built. Terrance Shannon said that he has the height of Solomon Alabi, and is more muscular than Jon Kreft. So he's physically capable to withstand the hammering big men take in the ACC, but is his game ready?
Ojo is a project. He's only been playing basketball for a few years. The Nigerian played basketball at a small school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the only real interest he drew from other high major programs was from Vanderbilt - though to be fair, he didn't get much exposure. But Leonard Hamilton and staff covet huge, athletic bodies, regardless of their basketball skill. And Ojo fits the bill.
To earn minutes he'll need to learn to defend. And Hamilton's system isn't an easy one to just plug into. For starters, FSU fronts the post (defender playing between the ball handler and the man he's defending) nearly exclusively. This is where Bernard James excelled. He was quick enough and had a high enough motor to outwork guys for position. But Ojo doesn't have that kind of explosive quickness. Luckily, he doesn't need a ton of work on the weights, so his workouts can be tailored toward increasing his in-space speed and footwork.
When he's not fronting the post, he'll generally be playing a cover (one foot on either side of his man, with his shoulders pointed toward the ball handler). And with his wingspan and strength he'll be effective, but it's harder to help his teammates when he's playing a cover, and Ham's defense is all about help and rotation.
So what to expect from Ojo? First, FSU needs another big body. And I'd like to see Boris Bojanovsky redshirt so he can add weight. If that's the case then Ojo needs to develop enough to contribute about 10-12 minutes a game. On offense he'll be used as a screener and as the designated dunker. On defense he'll be a work in progress. He needs to be physical with opposing bigs. He needs to rebound. Inevitably he earn some stares from Michael Snaer after someone's man gets to the rack unopposed, but he's just too big not to be on the court.