Men's Basketball

Eric Ayala Won’t Reclassify to 2017, Names Top 9 | What Now for OSU?

Eric Ayala Under Armour Ohio State Basketball

There was some hope that 4-star combo guard Eric Ayala would reclassify from the 2018 class to the 2017 class and possibly choose to play at Ohio State this coming season, but that will not be happening. At least not the first part, anyway.

Ayala (6-5 180) will not reclassify and will instead remain in the 2018 class, where he is ranked the No. 5 combo guard in the nation.

The news comes via ZagsBlog.com, who also reported Ayala’s newly-released Top 9 of Syracuse, Oregon, Miami, Georgetown, Indiana, Ohio State, LSU, Arizona and Maryland.

The Ohio State coaches were holding out hope that Ayala would reclassify to 2017 and join them for the coming season.

Eight days ago, head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media and said that the roster would be filled out by walk-ons. Asked if there was a possibility of landing another 2017 reclassification, he said it was possible, but they’d know more in about 10 days.

And now they know.

So Now What for Ohio State?

Ayala would have been a huge boost to a Buckeye roster which needs all of the boosts it can get. Without him, however, the backcourt will mainly consist of fifth-year senior Kam Williams, junior C.J. Jackson, and true freshman Musa Jallow.

There may be stints where the Buckeyes can get away with Andre Wesson or Keita Bates-Diop at the two, but it won’t be something that Chris Holtmann wants to do consistently. They could also sneak some minutes with Jae’Sean Tate bringing the ball up as a point forward.

Ideally, however, Williams, Jackson, and Jallow would be able to handle the 80 minutes a night between them. That’s a lot to ask of a freshman like Jallow, but the minutes would fall right in line with what Jackson and Williams played last season.

Williams spent the offseason working solely on his point guard skills. If Jackson spent the offseason working on his shooting guard skills, then maybe the Buckeyes might have some hope here.

The front court will be interesting to watch, as Bates-Diop is full go and ready to take the next step in his development. Adding freshman small forward Kyle Young was huge, and gives the team some freedom and depth that they needed. There have been concerns about center Kaleb Wesson’s weight, but based on most recent photos, he doesn’t look too bad.

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