Ben Roderick - high-school picture

In this photo provided by Ohio Athletics, Ben Roderick goes for a layup while playing for his high-school team, Olentangy Liberty in the Columbus area. Roderick last week signed on as a highly touted recruit for the Ohio men’s basketball team.

 

When Ohio University chose Jeff Boals to take the reins of the Bobcat men’s basketball program last month, the hiring came with the promise that Boals would flex his recruiting muscles and bring top-level recruits to the Bobcats. Just weeks into the job, Boals has started fulfilling that promise.

Ohio announced on Friday that forwards Marvin Price and Ben Roderick have signed on with the program.

Price and Roderick did not just become the signing class’s best players, but two of the most highly ranked recruits in Ohio University basketball history, according to 247Sports. The recruiting website shows Ohio’s top recruits and lists Roderick and Price, both three-star recruits, as the second- and third-highest signees since 2000.

The only higher-ranked recruit was former Mid-American Conference Player of the Year D.J. Cooper.

Price, who signed from Patterson High School in Maryland, was a two-time state champion and conference and area Player of the Year. Price was the No. 4 recruit in the state of Maryland for the 2019 class.

“Marvin chose Ohio University for all the right reasons,” Boals said in a press release. “His ability to score the basketball in a variety of ways helped him lead Patterson High School to a state championship. He will impact our program from day one on campus.”

The crowning jewel of the class came in the form of Roderick, an Olentangy Liberty (Ohio) High School standout. In his final season of a career that saw the forward as a four-year starter, Roderick led Liberty to a 24-5 record and an appearance in the Division I State Semifinal.

After averaging 27.9 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game the past season, Roderick was named the Ohio Gatorade Player of the Year and the Central Ohio Player of the Year.

“Ben had an outstanding senior year, helping his team to the state tournament semifinals,” Boals said in a release. “He is a high-level scorer that can make shots. We are ecstatic he decided to stay home to continue his academic and athletic career.”

The successful recruitments show the Jeff Boals era has taken over for the Bobcats. While an assistant at Ohio State, Boals recruited the likes of Jared Sullinger and D’Angelo Russell, who went on to successful college and professional careers.

Recruits with the prowess of Price and Roderick simply did not come along under the previous head coach, Saul Phillips. Again according to 247Sports, the highest-ranked recruit signed under Phillips was 2016 guard Rodney Culver Jr. After just one season at Ohio, Culver Jr. left the program.

Boals managed to get commitments from the high-school stars despite interest from bigger programs in bigger conferences. Solid recruits can bring attention to other recruits, and Boals showed the ability to promote and sell his team without having coached a game in Athens.

Only the future will show whether commitments will flood in, or if players will stay, or if Boals can get players to live up to their hype. Until that future arrives, Ohio can hang its hat on each step toward bringing the program back up to a level that fills the seats and the MAC Championships banner.

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