Cleamons joins list for Ohio State job

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 30, 2004

COLUMBUS - Los Angeles Lakers assistant Jim Cleamons is in the mix of candidates Ohio State is considering for its men's basketball coach, according to published and broadcast reports.

Meanwhile, Rice coach Willis Wilson interviewed with Ohio State athletic director Andy Geiger on Tuesday in Dallas, the Houston Chronicle reported in its Wednesday editions.

''It was a really good meeting. But there's a process involved, and they are going to go through that process,'' said Wilson, who led Rice to a 20-11 record last season and a berth in the NIT - its first postseason appearance since 1993.

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Cleamons, 54, is a 1971 graduate of Ohio State and has spent most of his career in the NBA as a player and coach.

He has been an assistant at Ohio State and Furman and coached at Youngstown State, where he worked with Buckeyes football coach Jim Tressel.

He left Youngstown State after two years and a 12-44 record to return to Chicago in the NBA as an assistant. He coached Dallas to 28-70 record in 1996 and '97.

A message seeking comment from Cleamons was left on Tuesday with the Lakers.

Ohio State fired coach Jim O'Brien on June 8 after he admitted paying $6,000 to a recruit who never played for the Buckeyes. The payment came to light in a lawsuit filed by a Columbus woman who said she provided housing and thousands of dollars to former Ohio State player Boban Savovic and did homework for him.

Cleamons is one of several candidates whose name has been mentioned in connection with the job.

WCPO-TV in Cincinnati reported on Monday that Ohio State has asked Xavier for permission to interview coach Thad Matta, who led the Musketeers to the NCAA regional finals this year where they lost to Duke.

Ohio State and Xavier had no comment on Tuesday.

Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings also is being considered for the job.