COLUMBUS — Following losses to both Michigan State and Rutgers, the Buckeye basketball team is hungry to get a win again. Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann, freshman guard Duane Washington Jr., and junior forward Andre Wesson met with the media on Friday to preview their road game against Iowa on Saturday. The game will be shown on BTN at 2:30 PM.
Here is a summary of what was said.
+ Iowa is playing really really well right now. They have a nice blend of veterans and impressive young players. It should be a great environment so they’ll need to play well.
+ Defensively, Iowa has been really good. Their offense is always really really good but they change defenses and mix it up and keep you off balance.
+ They have big bodied seekers who are seeking contact. Their guards seek contact, not avoid it. They are getting to the line better than anybody in the country.
+ It’s about progress and growth right now with each passing day and experience.
+ The competition and smaller margin for error has been the difference in the past two games. If they have lapses in games against quality competition they can’t get away with it.
+ They have a great group who wants to grow and improve. But they know it’s a long season.
+ They are a different team without Kaleb Wesson in the game. They have to continue to get some other guys to play differently and more effective in ways when he is out. They can’t be one-dimensional. As good as Keita Bates-Diop was last year, they still were not one-dimensional. But there have been times in the season when they’ve been good when Kaleb Wesson was out. Sometimes they can be one-dimensional when he’s in the game too because everybody knows who the ball is going to. He would like a bit more diversity offensively.
+ This schedule will be a grind. The focus is how can they as coaches work to improve the team.
+ Your veteran teams are always more equipped for league play because they have a better idea of what’s coming.
+ Collectively their team defense has to improve. They were just talking in the offense about how good some of their older guys were at being defensive leaders last year.
+ Freshman forward Jaedon LeDee is growing and getting better. He just has to be ready for when his opportunity is there.
+ Freshman forward Justin Ahrens is better and they expect him to be ready. Part of the reason they left him at home was because of the fear of it spreading. He would have had to wear a mask on the plane and be quarantined in a separate room.
Duane Washington Jr.
+ They have to get better at competing for 40 minutes. They talked about it as a team but it’s something they shouldn’t even have to discuss at this point.
+ They are trying to figure out what causes those lapses.
+ They’re not treating this like a special game just because of the losses. They will take the same approach and go there and do what they do.
+ Iowa is aggressive and their guards shoot the ball well.
+ Teams are guarding them differently now that they are in the Big Ten. He said he learned very quickly that Big Ten games are just different.
+ The biggest adjustment for him coming from high school is the physicality of the game. He said everybody is big and fast and strong. He can’t get away with anything at this level.
+ Against Rutgers, they learned that they have to compete for 40 minutes every time they come out on the court. They have lapses where they don’t compete hard enough and they can’t do that.
+ The stats show they haven’t played very well offensively when Kaleb Wesson goes out of the game. It is something that they have to figure out. The game changes when he isn’t in the game. They have to figure it out.
+ They know that it doesn’t get any easier from here. They have to find a way to compete and win games.
+ Shots haven’t been flowing. To get some confidence going they need to see some shots going in.
+ Iowa is a fun environment to play in. It’s going to be loud and a lot of people are going to be there. They are going to prepare for it well and hope their preparation carries over.
You can watch the interviews in their entirety below.