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A decade of Thad Matta: Coach welcomes 4 starters back to battle-tested Ohio State squad

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    FILE - In this March 30, 2013 file photo, Ohio State guard Aaron Craft, top, and Wichita State guard Fred Van Vleet scramble for a loose ball during the West Regional final in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament in Los Angeles. Led by Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr., Ohio State has a veteran crew that includes two seniors and seven juniors from a 29-win squad that came within a whisper of its second straight trip to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File) (The Associated Press)

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    FILE - In this March 30, 2013 file photo, Ohio State coach Thad Matta reacts during the second half of the West Regional final against Wichita State in the NCAA mens college basketball tournament in Los Angeles. For a change, Matta doesn’t have to introduce a bunch of newcomers to college-level hoops this fall. Led by Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr., Ohio State has a veteran crew that includes two seniors and seven juniors from a 29-win squad that came within a whisper of its second straight trip to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File) (The Associated Press)

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    FILE - In this March 28, 2013 file photo, Ohio State's Lenzelle Smith, Jr., scores against Arizona during the West Regional semifinal in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Los Angeles. Led by Smith and Aaron Craft, Ohio State has a veteran crew that includes two seniors and seven juniors from a 29-win squad that came within a whisper of its second straight trip to the Final Four. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File) (The Associated Press)

For a change, Thad Matta doesn't have to introduce a bunch of newcomers to college-level hoops this fall.

Having lost eight players early to the NBA draft in his nine seasons with the Buckeyes, the Ohio State coach is accustomed to acquainting first-year players to the college game while plugging holes left by premature departures.

Deshaun Thomas, the Big Ten's leading scorer, surrendered his senior season last spring to be drafted in the second round by the San Antonio Spurs.

But Matta has a veteran crew back that includes two seniors and seven juniors from a 29-win squad that came within a whisper of its second straight trip to the Final Four.

Led by Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr., the Buckeyes return four starters.