COLUMBUS — Following Ohio State’s 95-52 win over Cedarville, Buckeye head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media to talk about the win and the way his team played. Also speaking with reporters were freshmen DJ Carton, EJ Liddell, Ibrahima Diallo, and Alonzo Gaffney. Here are the highlights, with videos of embedded as well.
+ They appreciate Cedarville coming out and bringing their fans. “They gave us a lot there, particularly in the first half.” They have tried to get this game played for a couple of years now.
+ This game was good in a lot of ways because they got exposed in some areas. A lot of good moments, but have to get better in a lot of areas before Wednesday.
+ When OSU went down by 1, you don’t ever want to panic in those situations. There was poor attention to detail on defense for the Buckeyes and there were some bad stretches on offense. “All things we have to do better.” Kaleb Wesson was very good in the stretch when Ohio State went on their run.
+ Next week will be the most challenging opening game of Holtmann’s career. He has explained that to the freshmen, and they are aware of how good the Bearcats are going to be compared to what they saw tonight.
+ It was a good overall performance for the freshmen. There were some nerves. They all tried to play the way they coach the team to play. They weren’t perfect, but their approach was really good.
+ They will continue to look at the two-man game with DJ Carton and Kaleb Wesson. It was fairly simplistic today. Carton made some good reads in those situations.
+ “We have to be a group that is more diverse in a lot of ways offensively.” They will need contributions from a lot of guys this season.
+ He wants to play Alonzo Gaffney and EJ Liddell together at times, but the question is how will they be defensively early on at the 4 and the 5. Right now they’re not good enough to play them too many minutes there together.
+ The offense has to get better in the half court. The decision making has to get better. CJ Walker was pretty wired and you saw some of that with some “forced stuff.”
+ Gaffney has a world of potential but he’s got room to grow defensively, but showed good awareness defensively in the second half.
+ Kyle Young is at his best when he is changing the game with his energy and playing off of other guys. “That’s the way he’s always been.” He shot it well in the preseason but he’s special when he’s playing with effort.
+ It’s apparent that DJ Carton is explosive in transition. It will be harder for him to get those looks in the regular season.
+ It’s hard to be a good offensive player when you’re pressing and forcing the issue. “You’re at your best when you’re losing yourself in the game.”
+ They want to move Kaleb Wesson around. They have to play through him inside and outside. He has worked on his body and can really move and create difficult situations for the defense.
+ “I thought Luther was pretty solid tonight.” If you evaluate your game exclusively by scoring, you’re going to be frustrated a lot as a young player. He struggled early but played solid. Duane Washington struggled, but did some good things. Those sophomores have to keep getting better.
+ It felt great to get on the court for the first time as a Buckeye.
+ His favorite dunk was the alley-oop from EJ Liddel. “He knows how I play.”
+ Kaleb Wesson is a special player and it’s easy to get him the ball. “I think we’ve got a really good connection. He works hard to get open.”
+ It’s going to be a big game next week against Cincinnati. “It’s going to be fun.” The freshmen will have to play very mature and play with control. It will test them at points but they have worked for this and they are ready.
+ Holtmann wants him pushing the ball every time he gets it because that is one of his strengths. It can lead to easy buckets. “Every time I get the ball in a position to push it, I’m going to do that.”
+ It’s hard being hurt and fighting through practices while you’re in pain. You have to be smart because this is a long season. You have to really focus on recovery.
+ Dream come true to play for the Buckeyes. Grew up an Ohio State fan.
+ With him and Liddell on the court together gives them versatility defensively.
+ The freshmen are very close, but it’s not just the freshmen. The entire team is very close.
+ Gaffney’s father played at Cincinnati, so they are both excited about next week’s game. “I just want to go out there and kill them, really.”
+ It was nerve wracking the first time stepping on the court, but it was a dream come true.
+ When he and Gaffney are on the court together it spaces out their offense because they can both hit shots.
+ CJ Walker kept bringing up how he hasn’t played in 580-some games, so it felt amazing to get out there and play against somebody other than each other. Walker was very excited to play today. He held it in well over the last few days, but today it was easy to tell he was excited.
+ Liddell and Carton played open gym before and he didn’t throw Carton the lob and Carton told him “You can throw it to me.” Liddell kept that in mind in this game and threw it up to him. “I guess he can jump kind of high.”
+ The Cincinnati game will be eye opening. “I know personally I will have to calm down when I see all of the fans in the stands.”
+ There are high expectations for this team and this class. There is already a brotherhood with the freshmen, but it’s about the name on the front of the jersey.
+ Getting injured in the preseason forced him to stay “good-minded” and not rush anything. You had to learn mentally while they were on the sideline.
+ It was a great moment to be on the court as a Buckeye.
+ If he needs to be Kaleb Wesson’s backup he will do whatever the team needs. “I’m going to step up and do whatever they need to do.”