COLUMBUS — The Ohio State men’s basketball team is now practicing for an upcoming trip to Spain Aug. 1 through Aug. 11.
The media were invited to watch the team’s fourth practice, as well as talk to head coach Chris Holtmann, senior guard C.J. Jackson, and sophomore forward Kyle Young.
+ Jackson and Young began by talking about their excitement for their upcoming trip to Spain. Jackson said it can really bring the team together, and it was also an opportunity to experience the culture. The biggest take away with this trip is relationships. With a lot of new guys, team bonding is the biggest thing they look forward to.
+ Young said it will be good to get a feel for the team on and off the court.
+They each have been out of the country before.
+They hope that for the young and new guys this will put them ahead of the game by the time the season starts.
+Young has been focusing on ball handling, shooting, and passing. He said these were all things that he struggled with last year but he feels a lot more comfortable right now but wants to continue to work on his game.
+Young talked about his relationship with Jackson and how much their relationship has helped with his confidence. It has been very helpful for him.
+Young said that his development has been very successful so far this summer.
+ Jackson said that Holtmann turned the culture around fast and is doing a great job of bringing the right people into the program. Even outside of basketball, the guys do everything together. Young said that there is a lot of excitement in the program.
+ They also addressed the changes this year with losing all of the seniors and all of the new guys coming in. He said they have all been responding well and came in with an open mind ready to learn.
+ Strength coach Quadrian Banks has had a full year of training on the guys. Both Jackson and Young said he has very specific training for each and every person. Jackson and Young said their experience with yoga was a lot tougher than he expected. Jackson initially thought it was just a bunch of stretching, but it was not. He said it was not a good look for him because he’s not flexible. They both struggled with flexibility.
+ Jackson said their role during recruiting visits are to make recruits feel like they are a part of the team and do things that they would normally do with the recruit. They said it’s never a problem getting along with the guys the coaching staff recruits. Young said that they just try to feel them out.
+Young said he was taking a day-by-day mentality last year. He hopes to continue to be effective defensively and rebounding.
+ Team Scarlet and Gray is here practicing for The Basketball Tournament. Jackson said he could see himself coming back and playing. He said it’s more than just basketball. Young said it’s so easy to build relationships with the guys. They have been very welcoming, being recruited by different coaches. Jackson could not name a coolest guy, but he commented on the cars parked outside.
+ Holtmann started out by addressing an issue with his eye, which was why he was wearing glasses. He said he’s wearing some battle scars from a week on the road. He somehow contracted an eye infection, he doesn’t know how. He thinks it must have been in a hotel.
+Holtmann said they’re taking the time this summer to learn about each other. He said the practices are low-key and he wants the guys to enjoy the trip, learn about each other. They will be experimenting with a bunch of different lineups on the trip.
+Holtmann said this advantage might not necessarily translate to being ahead by fall and he talked to a lot of coaches about it, but time together is still valuable.
+He said he’d rather be doing it than not doing it.
+Keita and Jae’Sean and Kam have all still been in contact just checking in. They are all doing their things.
+Holtmann said that Bates-Diop was back on campus yesterday and came in for a workout.
+He said it’s a new team in many ways. This summer is going to be a lot about learning and answering questions.
+He said they were going to go to Spain at Butler and this has been in the works for a while. He said this is a good multi-cultural experience for the players. They are going to preach education, and cross-cultural experience. The teams they will be playing in three games are a mix of professional players and they are very competitive teams.
+Holtmann addressed the imbalance in classes on this team. A lot of the middle-class guys were the ones that transferred.
+Holtmann said he speaks a little bit of Spanish and studied if for four years, but it has been a long time.
+Holtmann addressed the regression. He recognizes he has challenges ahead but is going to look at it with optimism. He wants to reach the potential for this group and he’s anxious to see what that is. He said he’s going to be dependent on a lot of new faces, but the older group will need to step up and take a larger role.
+One major question they still have is the leadership and chemistry with this team compared to what they had last year.
+Holtmann addressed meeting the Governor yesterday and said he admires that he is a well-spoken guy.
+Transfer point guard Keyshawn Woods has great experience, but his leadership will need to be earned. Holtmann said Andrew Dakich came in as a great listener right away and that meant something to the team. Then by the end of the year he was a loud voice in the locker room. Keyshawn recognizes that he needs to come in and do his work first. Holtmann said Dakich can help Keyshawn and it will be good for him to hear from Dakich, who is now a graduate assistant.
+ Holtmann said they’re throwing the young guys into the fire and they have a lot of tough games on the schedule very early so it’s good to get experience and be a little more ready than last year.
+Holtmann talked about the offseason program he wanted to implement from Urban Meyer’s Real Life Wednesdays. He said he wanted to implement something at Butler that is similar. It is called Beyond Hoops. Using this time to talk about those things, program values, people in the community, inspirational people, and former players. Trying to understand who they are as a program, as well as being put in front of people that will be inspiring for them.
+ He said he has some dawgs in recruiting. He wants to put a quality class after a quality class, while still placing importance on the fit of the guys. Holtmann said it can help with momentum, but does not guarantee future recruiting success.