By Bruce Hooley
ESPN college basketball analyst Jay Bilas chatted with the Hooligans on Tuesday in advance of Ohio State’s overtime loss at Michigan, offering his take on the Buckeyes and a potential pairing of Kyrie Irving and LeBron James on the Cavaliers.
What do you like about Ohio State?
“I think Aaron Craft is the best on-ball defender in college basketball,” Bilas said. “He’s the best there is…Deshaun Thomas is one of the best scorers, if not the best scorer in the country.
“Ohio State has not been scoring efficiently from multiple spots on the floor. You know Thomas is going to get 25. He’s going to get over 20. The problem you have is, the best teams are going to make him guard, make him take tough shots and make him take a number shots and try not to foul him.
“Someone else has to step forward, whether it’s Evan Ravenal or Lenzelle Smith. You’ve got to have someone else who steps forward.”
The closed captioning auto-correct on ESPN recently changed “volume scorer” to “valium scorer” when talking about Thomas. There’s some truth in that, right?
“Deshaun Thomas has to take shots,” Bilas said. “He’s a pretty efficient player. Ohio State is a really good defensive team, as they have been ( in the past). They’re also pretty darn efficient on the offensive end. They just don’t score from enough spots. Like a lot of of teams, it makes it more difficult.
“They haven’t been able to attack as easily. Teams are loading up on Deshaun Thomas and making it difficult on him.”
It’s hard to watch Trey Burke, a Columbus kid, do his thing for Michigan. It hurts he got away from OSU.
“You can’t take every point guard,” Bilas said. “Looking back, you can say, ‘We should have done this. We should have done that.’ But I think Thad (Matta) is pretty happy to have Aaron Craft. He should be.”
You know Kyrie Irving from his days at Duke. There’s a lot of speculation about LeBron James returning to Cleveland to play with the Cavaliers. Do he and Kyrie fit together?
“Yes,” Bilas said. “First of all, LeBron fits with anybody. He’s the best player on the planet. And he’s the best athlete that I think has ever walked face of the earth. He’s phenomenal. I really do believe that. I’m not saying he can beat Usain Bolt in a 100-yard dash or anything like that. But he can do more things than any athlete I’ve ever contemplated. He’s phenomenal. And I think he’s best player in NBA.
“…Absolutely, LeBron can play with Kyrie. You saw what he did in Olympics. He played with all the great players and was the facilitator. He can play with anybody He’s about winning. No question he and Kyrie can play together.”
You have 437,000 Twitter followers, and yet you follow no one. Explain.
“Until Twitter lets me follow myself, I don’t see the point,” Bilas said. “I’m not following anybody until I can follow myself. I want the same joy everybody else gets.”
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