Much has been made of late of the return of Evan Turner to the Ohio State men's basketball program, and with good reason. Turner has been nothing short of spectacular this season and is sure to be a finalist for both the Naismith and Wooden awards honoring the best college basketball player in the nation. But I would argue that withouth the play of another player, David Lighty, the Buckeyes would not be in the hunt for another Big Ten championship.
David Lighty, a small forward, was one of the first players to sign from the super class that included Michael Conley, Daequan Cook, and Greg Oden. Fittingly, Lighty was they only one to stay four years at OSU, and possibly five if he decides not to enter the NBA draft this spring. Last season it was Lighty, not Turner who was sidelined with an injury, and they chatter centered on who would step up in Lighty's absence. This year has been a different story, with OSU losing its star point guard, Evan Turner, for six games with a back injury. The question then became who would step up for the Buckeyes in Turner's absence. Lighty, who has been known more during his career as a defensive player, was ready to answer the call. During Turner's absence, Lighty averaged 16 pts and 6 rebounds per game.
The biggest benefit Lighty adds to OSU, however, is the tenacity that he brings to each game. He is undoubtedly one of the hardest workers on the team at both ends of the floor and it shows. Lighty is always willing to take a charge/dive for a loose ball on the defensive end to help his team. On the offensive end he has not been as quite as productive, but this has been his best season by far. On Saturday versus Wisconsin, Lighty actually outscored and outrebounded Turner (18 and 4 to 15 and 1), something I am sure Turner does not mind as long as it means a Buckeyes victory. In order for Ohio State to be successful against Northwestern tonight, they will need another strong performance from David Lighty.