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Published: Tuesday, 5/15/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Ex-Ohio State forward coming to Toledo

BY RYAN AUTULLO
BLADE SPORTS WRITER
Ohio State's J.D. Weatherspoon, right, shoots over South Carolina Upstate's Jodd Maxey last season. Weatherspoon will transfer to the University of Toledo. Ohio State's J.D. Weatherspoon, right, shoots over South Carolina Upstate's Jodd Maxey last season. Weatherspoon will transfer to the University of Toledo.
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Former Ohio State basketball forward JD Weatherspoon will transfer to the University of Toledo, where he'll have two seasons of eligibility remaining after sitting out next year.

He revealed his intentions Tuesday in a Tweet that partially read, "I will be taking my talents to the University of Toledo."

Weatherspoon chose UT over Temple, which did not offer him a scholarship after he visited the Philadelphia campus last weekend. Bowling Green State University, Ohio University, and Valparaiso expressed interest in the 6-foot-6, 215-pound Columbus native.

Weatherspoon, who will play either forward spot, said he picked UT because he's comfortable with assistant coach Ryan Pedon, a native of suburban Columbus, and because he enjoyed his visit to campus last month.

"I felt comfortable with the coaches," he said. "They showed me a lot of love and told me I'm going to be a guy they need to build the program up and go to the NCAA tournament."

Weatherspoon's career at OSU never gained traction. He was ruled academically ineligible for the second half of his freshman season after contributing 1.8 points and 0.8 rebounds in 10 games. He logged 6.3 minutes last season, totaling 3.0 points and 1.1 rebounds, and played only three minutes in OSU's five games of the NCAA tournament. Buckeyes coach Thad Matta encouraged Weatherspoon to transfer, the player conceded, "to get a fresh start somewhere else."

"He told me I don't care about winning and that I just care about playing, which is not true," Weatherspoon said.

A Northland High School teammate of former OSU star Jared Sullinger and Big Ten freshman of the year Trey Burke of Michigan, Weatherspoon was 95-4 in his prep career.

He was his team's leading scorer with 18 points in a state championship win his junior season.

Of his academic shortcomings, Weatherspoon is confident they're no longer an issue.

"We're awfully excited to add JD to our program," UT coach Tod Kowalczyk said.

"He's a tremendous athlete. He's somebody that I think is a very efficient rebounder at both ends and plays with an unbelievable amount of energy. I think a year of him sitting out will greatly enhance his skill level."

The Rockets are banned from next season's NCAA tournament -- and by extension the Mid-American Conference tournament -- because of poor Academic Progress Rate scores, but are primed for special things in 2013-14.

That squad will boast Weatherspoon, Loyola (Md.) transfer Justin Drummond, and current UT standouts Rian Pearson and Julius Brown.

With the arrivals of Weatherspoon and Drummond, the sixth man of the year in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, all 13 of UT's scholarships for next season are accounted for. Kowalczyk said previously he hoped to give one to Genoa walk-on Richard Wonnell unless a transfer emerged.

"I certainly want Richard to come back," Kowalczyk said. "I think he does have some academic scholarship money."

Contact Ryan Autullo at: rautullo@theblade.com, 419-724-6160 or on Twitter @RyanAutullo.



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