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Q&A with Laurel Scheffel

¥¥New Ohio University President Roderick McDavis said in a forum prior to his appointment that he would like to pump money into the men's basketball program, something coach Tim O'Shea likely would not oppose. The Post's Laurel Scheffel sat down with O'Shea to talk about the new president, off-season basketball, recruiting and tennis.

The Post: What do you think about the new president wanting to pump money into the basketball program?

O'Shea: I heard the new president definitely liked basketball, and he mentioned the fact that at Virginia Commonwealth this year they won their tournament and went to NCAAs and how that was an event that really galvanized a lot of the alumni support as well as that of the student body. Obviously, those types of decisions in terms of how we get funded really come from (Director of Athletics) Tom Boeh, but certainly to have a supporter of basketball in the president's office is something that any basketball coach would be pleased about. As far as the actual funding, I don't have any complaints. We could definitely use more, but relatively speaking, what I have versus what Olympic sports and other sports have to work with, I am probably the last person that should be complaining about resources.

The Post: So what would you like to see for the future if the budget continues to increase?

O'Shea: I think it's important for us to recognize how far we were falling behind the rest of the Mid-American Conference in terms of the way we are funding our intercollegiate athletic program. There is definitely a correlation between the investment you make and the results that you have on the playing field, and a lot of it has to do with recruiting. You need the funds to recruit. One of the big things I hear right now is that we want to have more out-of-state students; we want to become more of a national university and not have such a high concentration of Ohio kids. Well, athletics is a great way to build upon that type of recruitment, but you need funding to recruit that way.

The Post: Speaking of recruiting, what's been going on with the new recruits for next season?

O'Shea: We are going to welcome four new players next year. One will be a transfer from Boston College, so he will sit out next year with the transfer rules -Johnnie Jackson who was originally from Memphis, Tenn. Jeremy Fears had a standout senior year at Joliet Township High School in Illinois, was ranked one of the top five players in the state of Illinois. It's a very strong year for players in that state going to Division I schools, so we are very excited about him. Leon Williams, Cardinal Gibbons High School in Baltimore, Md., comes in. Again, he had an outstanding senior year, a big rugged rebounder. He's very similar to a Brandon Hunter in terms of his ability to rebound the ball and his body type, so we are very optimistic about him. Mychal Green, originally from Columbus, was playing at Ohlone Junior College out in Northern California, was the player of the year in his conference, had a great year in terms of scoring. He averaged 23 points a game, 52 percent from the 3 (point line).

The Post: What will those players add to the team?

O'Shea: I think the addition of those players, and the improvement I have seen from the guys we have returning this spring, I think we are really in position to have a really good year next year. I think we have a position to turn around and get back on the winning side as well as to really be in contention in the MAC. I thought this was clearly a rebuilding year, but rebuilding years are fine, as long as that's just that, they are rebuilding, and I think that's exactly where we are. Barring any major injuries to our key people, I am very excited about next year.

The Post: You played a really good match of tennis against (sports editor) Lonnie McMillan and me last week. Any plans for a tennis career?

O'Shea: It was fun. I probably should play more tennis.

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Laurel Scheffel

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