Hoopsters Not Well Known, But Team Is Deep

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - For the past four seasons, Ohio State defenders have been used to taking chances on the perimeter. If something happened, Ken Johnson was there to block the shot.

Now Johnson is gone, and the Buckeyes must learn to play defense without having someone who can erase their mistakes and opponents' shots with one expansive arm.

Only four players in college basketball history have ever blocked more than Johnson's 444 shots, and two of them were named Mourning and Duncan.

A year ago, showing he was more than a defensive stopgap, Johnson averaged 12.5 points a game, second-best on the team.

In his stead Ohio State will have Will Dudley, who has blocked 23 shots in his three-year career, and a gang of four. Dudley will split time with Velimir Radinovic, Matt Marinchick, Terence Dials and Tim Martin.

(Copyright 2001 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)