Men's Basketball

Two-Minute Drill: Chris Holtmann Provides Men’s Basketball Updates

Chris Holtmann Ohio State Buckeyes

COLUMBUS – Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media on Wednesday to give updates on the program and the upcoming season.

Here’s a summary of what was said.

Chris Holtmann

+ Everybody is relatively healthy or compared to where they were, they have taken septs forward. Musa Jallow and Seth Towns are out of lie action right now, they are able to do limited contact drill work, but neither can do live action work. Everybody else is healthy and in a good place physically. Towns is a month away, Jallow is closer.

+ They had their first scrimmage on Tuesday with officials, first time since March.

+ On Saturday they will simulate a game-day experience.

+ He is excited about the group that is signing.

+ On potentially adding another player, Holtmann said the pandemic has changed the timeline for some guys. They will look at a pool of recruits in the spring.

+ Holtmann said they have done a lot of FaceTime and Zoom conversations for recruiting and that has been the personal contact that has been the most helpful. It has allowed them to do things in a different way and reach more recruits.

+ E.J. Liddell has to take a major, important step for them. To expect a sophomore to have the entire offense run through him in the best conference is too much right now but he is going to have some guys around him.

+ Justice Sueing is unique in the way he moves, his athleticism. He gives them a different element than they have had at the wing. He is different from Jae’Sean Tate, but the versatility in the ways he uses him may be similar. He is close to KBD personality wise, he has the west coast, laid back vibe. He has tested out to be the best athlete. His ball skills and his athleticism give them the ability to move him around.

+ In essence this is going to be a ‘free year’ for athletes if they choose. Holtmann said they talked about a waiver for Jimmy Sotos initially before that, but once they heard that news, they decided to go forward with it. Initially he wanted a year to develop but they felt comfortable putting a waiver in.

+ On Jimmy Sotos’ play, Holtmann said his shooting, ball handing, and passing right now is great. He has graded out as one of the best shooters. He will have an adjustment to playing at this level but he will play both off the ball and with the ball in his hands.

+ On the team that he has, Holtmann said he is excited and thinks that this group has a chance to grow. The roles will evolve and he is excited about that.

+ He feels good about the depth of the team. The pandemic makes depth even more important than it has ever been. Guys are going to have to play more minutes, be flexible, and adjust.

+ He thinks Duane Washington Jr. will be up there as the leading scorer. He is playing with confidence and aggressiveness, he is no longer on the back end of the scouting report. But there are a handful of guys who could be up there.

+ Fitness is the biggest thing for Zed Key right now, that and understanding the demands of a guy at this level playing an interior position.

+ Scheduling has been a challenge but he thinks they made the right decision about not playing in South Dakota. It was a tournament they wanted to play in, but about 70 percent of his work day and night right now has been scheduling. It has been head coach to head coach talking to expedite the process. The toughest thing is that both teams have to agree to it and set a date. They have had great ideas about matchups but haven’t been able to have unified agreement on the games yet.

+ He does want to play 27 games. That is important to his team.

+ He loves Ryan Day and has great respect for he and his staff. They talked over the summer about COVID protocols and what they were doing.

+ The team has to normalize struggle and expect interruptions.