COLUMBUS — Following Ohio State’s 68-59 win over Indiana on Saturday, Buckeye head coach Chris Holtmann spoke with reporters about his team’s win as well as DJ Carton’s absence. Point guard CJ Walker and forward Kaleb Wesson spoke about the win as well, spending time to discuss the team’s approach without DJ Carton. Hoosier head coach Archie Miller also answered questions from the assembled media horde.
Here are the highlights. You can see each of the interviews in the videos below as well.
Ohio State Head Coach Chris Holtmann
+ Holtmann thanks the fans for their support of DJ Carton’s pursuit for mental health and overall health. The vast majority of Buckeye fans were very supportive. To the few Buckeye fans who tweeted at Holtmann saying that this is a reflection of where the program is, Holtmann said he’s guilty and called critical fans “antiquated.”
+ The health care within the OSU basketball program is second to none.
+ There was great leadership from Kaleb Wesson and CJ Walker today.
+ Carton leaving was sudden, but his teammates knew he was going through some things. So while the departure was sudden, Holtmann doesn’t know if it was that much of a surprise. Carton shared his thoughts with his teammates on Thursday.
+ How they handle this situation moving forward is uncharted territory so Holtmann is relying on Gene Smith and the Carton family. Smith’s only concern was how can they help Carton and his family.
+ There were better decisions in the paint in this game which created a high assist number.
+ Go ahead and criticize Holtmann for whatever X and O you want, but it’s “idiotic thinking” to be critical of DJ Carton leave of absence and OSU’s decision to help him.
+ Justin Ahrens in the last four weeks has been his healthiest, and that’s been so key. What he has done the last two games is repeatable, at least in terms of minutes. He has to continue to build his attention to detail. He has to compete and fight, which he has done. His cutting has helped the offense too.
+ This was a good shooting effort today, though Duane Washington still took some bad shots, quick shots.
+ They had to change their shifts and lineups after Thursday’s announcement.
+ Kaleb Wesson was “terrific on both ends.” He created opportunities for other guys. He protected the rim pretty well.
+ Duane Washington will need to play some point while DJ Carton is out, but CJ Walker will continue to play increased minutes. Washington is a really good ball handler. He can run the offense. He’s getting better at passing. He doesn’t turn it over a lot. He provides some size, but needs to continue working on his defense and offensive efficiency.
+ On Carton: “I think it’s brave on his part and I think it’s what needed to happen. I thought it was a great move on his part.”
+ OSU was good on the defensive glass. That was a major emphasis coming into this game.
+ You never make too much of one or two games, or even a stretch of games — winning or losing, but this league is brutal. There will be “upsets,” but there are no upsets in this league that are truly shocking.
+ OSU is okay with their defensive efficiency, but it’s not where it needs to be. They need to be taking steps forward.
+ There are two road games coming up, “but I’m thinking about tomorrow.” Must play a lot tougher on the road coming up.
+ Holtmann said you have to be open with your players about mental health. “I see a therapist.” The only way to remove the stigma is to put it out in the open more.
+ The length and size in the Big Ten is too good to just play smashmouth for 40 minutes.
+ Holtmann declined to comment on how long Carton might be out because it is still too early to know.
+ “We’re always going to be about the player. That’s our responsibility.”
Indiana Head Coach Archie Miller
+ Ohio State played an excellent game in terms of sharing the ball.
+ “We could not rebound the ball.” It’s the first time in a while that he can remember being pushed around and negated like this on that glass.
+ Too many turnovers in the first half. Did better in the second half, but not well enough. “This team has sort of hit a pot hole, so to speak.” Gotta find your tough guys and your togetherness.
+ “Our physicality and just the energy level…isn’t there right now.”
+ The zero second-chance points is “very telling.” Give Ohio State credit for keeping IU off the glass. “This was a very stand-still game. We were locked to the ground around the rim. It’s very concerning.”
+ It was brave of DJ Carton to share what he’s going through and they had to play for each other today.
+ Carton does a great job of finding shots for each other, so today they had to find other ways to get each other involved.
+ They are finding more ways to get the ball into the paint.
+ Walker played 35 minutes today. “I feel like I can do that. I feel like I can play at a high level for that long.”
+ Walker didn’t change his mental approach in this game knowing that he was going to be playing so many minutes. It’s a little more weight on his shoulders but he feels like he’s ready for that.
+ The ball is moving better than it has because the team has decided to go back to their old ways when they were getting everyone involved. Kaleb Wesson is always going to be the main guy, but they are looking for everyone right now and moving the ball.
+ This game was a tribute to the family atmosphere in the program. After the game everyone was reaching out to DJ Carton and letting him know they love him.
+ “You can’t leave Justin. He’ll kill you, and that’s what he did today.”
+ Indiana had zero second-chance points, so they came into this game knowing they were going to have to hit the boards and be tough, “and that’s what we tried to do today.”
+ They didn’t circle this game, but every win is a big win, especially when it’s against a team that already beat them earlier in the season.