Men's Basketball

Two-Minute Drill: Chris Holtmann, Buckeyes Preview Exhibition Against Cedarville

Ohio State Buckeyes Basketball Chris Holtmann Press Conference

COLUMBUS — Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann, and Buckeye guards CJ Walker and Duane Washington Jr. met with the media on Tuesday to preview OSU’s upcoming exhibition game against Cedarville.

The game will be played on Wednesday at 7:00 PM in Columbus, Ohio and will be aired on BTN Plus.

Here’s a summary of what was said at interviews.

CJ Walker

+ The name, image, and likeness issue has always been a topic of discussion with being at a place like Ohio State. He feels like it will be a great opportunity for the players.

+ Walker said he hasn’t played in over 500 days. He’s desperate to play a game in front of a crowd with this team.

+ The exhibition is a time to see their hard work pay off against somebody other than themselves. They can also learn a lot from it.

+ Having depth in practice is very helpful because it makes everyone better and makes things easier in the game. It also helps late in the season having depth.

+ He took last year to learn how Coach Holtmann wants his team run. He learned from C.J. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods last year. “You want a coach to coach you and he’s hard on the point guards.” He learned that Coach Holtmann wants him to slow down the game, make the right plays, let the game come to him, and be a leader. Walker said it was hard last year not being a contributor but he took what he learned into this year.

+ They want to be a great defensive team who is locked in on details. “Tomorrow is a test and will be a good learning experience to get better defensively.”

+ They are excited to be ranked in the preseason but Holtmann preaches a day-by-day mentality. There is a balance. “Being a top 25 team you have a target on your back.”

+ E.J.Liddell made a big change and transformation since he has been on campus. They all have been holding each other accountable, they are all important and are needed.

+ Practices win games.

+ The freshman will all be very impactful from the jump. They are good learners, good teammates, and good people.

Duane Washington Jr.

+ He hasn’t done too much research on name, image, and likeness issue. But he thinks that it should be good for the players.

+ The exhibition is their first time playing in front of a crowd on their own court. They are going at this like they do every opponent and are looking to get better from it.

+ This year everyone is bought in really early and they all know that they want to win games. They have trust in each other and the coaches. It’s important to have that at this stage.

+ This year before the first practice coach talked about turning the ball over. It was a big sticking point for them and the entire team is focused on taking care of the ball. That was one thing that coach drilled into their heads.  Holtmann told them, “If you don’t take care of the ball you’re not going to be on the court you’re going to be on the bench sitting next to me.”

+ DJ Carton is explosive and athletic. CJ Walker is super polished and smart. Washington said Walker makes the right plays. “They are always helping each other out, being good communicators.”

+ Their first time with a crowd is different. The pre-game routine, the music in the background, they have to be locked in.

+ 8, 12, 15, 193 are numbers that are drilled into their heads. 8th in conference, 12 conference losses, 15 total losses, and 193rd in country in turnovers last season. They walk past those numbers every day in the locker room, weight room, and on the TVs. “That wasn’t good enough, we have to find a way to do better this year.”

+ The 3-ball is a big part of his game. He feels like he has been shooting better and his confidence is high.

+ The freshman are all bought in to what they want to do as a team. The effort ,the details and the defense. They understand that they have to do those things to be on the court.

Chris Holtmann

+ They are excited about this exhibition and playing somebody else before they get started for real.

+ “We always want to play Ohio schools in this exhibition.”

+ Cedarville has some veteran guys coming back from a team that had 20 wins last year. They sold 1,500 tickets in less than an hour. They will play with a lot of energy and passion.

+ Everyone relatively healthy outside of Musa Jallow.

+ They are preparing the team for what a pregame experience will look like.

+ He is most curious about how some of the young guys play with people in the stands and people watching.

+ You get some insight on potential issues with a team but can’t get a trend on something until you’re a few games in.

+ The rotation will play a lot of guys. They will have a lot of mistakes given the youth and they will have to play and coach through that.

+ They are looking at how committed guys are to playing both sides of the ball.

+ 8, 12, 15, 193. That was supposed to stay in the locker room. But it is just a reminder for all of them about how they are trying to improve in specific areas. A lot of good things came out of last year but there are things everybody has to do better at. That involves the losses and turnovers.

+ Moving Kaleb Wesson around will be critical for them.

+ He has never in his career talked about preseason rankings. Not once, good or bad. They are based on things that group in their entirety have not yet accomplished. They won’t talk about it. The focus is on getting better. Players understand it’s relatively meaningless. “Last year five teams ranked in the top 25 in the preseason rankings didn’t make the NCAA tournament, two had losing seasons, and three made the NIT and were bounced after a round or two.”

+ With the 3-point line being moved back, Holtmann thinks he will see lower percentages.

+ The starting five will be pretty fluid throughout the season outside of a few guys.

+ Holtmann likes the new name, image and likeness opportunities. He thinks that the progress the NCAA has made has been good. They all recognize it is just a matter of time for this, some say it’s long overdue. He thinks it is a good idea, but how it works and how they get it to work… there’s a lot going into it. He has had a lot of conversations with Gene Smith.

+ The team is not where they need to be across the board in terms of turnovers. They had 19 turnovers against Louisville.

+ He doesn’t have a tradition for starting a new season but he thinks his daughter will start to wear a jersey to school the day of the first game.

+ The fans will love CJ Walker. He provides maturity that this group desperately needed.

+ He would have loved to play basketball with his brother like Kaleb and Andre Wesson. But Holtmann joked that his brother wasn’t good enough to play on his team.


You can watch the full videos below.

CJ Walker and Duane Washington Jr.

Posted by The Ozone on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Chris Holtman

Posted by The Ozone on Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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