COLUMBUS — Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann, junior forward Kyle Young, and junior forward Kaleb Wesson met with the media on Tuesday to preview OSU’s upcoming game against in-state foe Cincinnati.
The game will be played on Wednesday in Columbus, Ohio. Tip is set for 8:30 PM and the game will be aired on FS1.
Here’s a summary of what was said at interviews.
+ It’s a full week with the start of college basketball and two games for them this week. They are excited about getting the season started. They have an extremely challenging opponent to start with Cincinnati.
+ This is the most challenging opener that he has been a part of in large part for how much respect they have for Cincinnati’s program.
+ The additions of the older guys to their team, the existing talent, and the new coach will make this an exciting game and gives them a chance to have an exciting year.
+ Cincinnati has more shooting in their team right now than what they had last year.
+ It’s a guessing game as to how UC’s new players are going to be utilized in specific ways. The players at Northern Kentucky were different from the players at Cincinnati. It’s a guessing game. Last year they were really familiar with Cincinnati because they had so much footage. That will take some feeling out on their part because they are just not sure.
+ “Pre-season player of the year Cumberland and the other Cumberland, both Cumberlands actually will be tough to defend.”
+ Approaching this game is different because they are watching Oakland film, Northern Kentucky film, Cincinnati film, and others.
+ The young players have to realize how hard it is to be consistently good at this level.
+ On Kaleb Wesson, Holtmann said Cincinnati will try to get him in foul trouble early and will test him. The coaches have showed Wesson situations where he could have done a better job, but having said that, he’s big and aggressive. “He’s not going to go through 35 games without being in foul trouble. But he needs to be sensible to it because of how important he is to this team. The added fitness will for sure help with that.”
+ “You’re not going to play if you don’t have a willing spirit defensively. Time will only tell who has a willing spirit when it comes to that.”
+ He thinks it’s important to play Ohio teams.
+ On having an early test, Holtmann said they will see if it is good or not to be tested so early on in the season. He is a bit reluctant because of the youth of this team. These games matter early. They didn’t make the NCAA tournament last year without that win at Cincinnati.
+ The chemistry with the point guards has been good, between DJ Carton, CJ Walker, and Kaleb Wesson.
+ Kaleb Wesson’s change was gradual. Someone who hasn’t seen him in a while was probably surprised but because he sees him all the time he didn’t recognize it enough.
+ He thought Luther Muhammad did a lot of good things in the exhibition. They are looking at efficiency not as much scoring. He will score the ball for them this year but he needs to be an efficient offensive player and needs to take that next step.
+ Last year playing at their place it was a packed house. He is hoping to have that same thing here tomorrow night.
+ On the Cedarville exhibition game, Young said it was nice getting a game under their belt and having some film to look at.
+ He doesn’t think Cincinnati will be different with a new head coach. They are going to come out ready to play.
+ Kaleb Wesson is a super important piece to the team and it’s super important for him to be out on the court.
+ This team will learn and improve from each game.
+ This team is excited but they aren’t focusing on the outside noise. They have a young group of guys but they have good chemistry and they are a very connected group.
+ They have team goals and they want to get further in the tournament than they did last year. But they haven’t earned anything yet, they haven’t played any games.
+ On being a starter against Cincinnati last year, Young said it was exciting seeing his hard work pay off. The key to handling that moment is just trying to stay as poised as possible. The freshman playing in this game are going to feel overwhelmed at times but just focus on playing the game and do what you do.
+ “It’s an Ohio thing.” They will be facing guys they have played against in high school and AAU teams.
+ Against Cedarville, the freshmen started out slow but picked it up. The young guys learned what college basketball was all about. The fast pace helped them out.
+ Cincinnati has a couple of guys back from last years’ team. They are bigger this year.
+ The guys try to teach the freshman physicality. Last week was one of the weakest, if not the weakest competition they will face this year. It will be a lot harder moving forward.
+ DJ Carton played with a lot of poise for a young guy.
+ On losing the weight in the off-season Wesson said the hardest thing for him was adjusting to the lifestyle change. He had to find a why for doing it and he realized he didn’t want to be that big. It would help him at the next level and also in life past basketball. The first couple of weeks were hard only seeing 2-3 pounds drop off the scale.
+ He said he is a poor college student and couldn’t buy any new clothes so he’s rocking the baggy ‘fits.
+ Wesson said he missed eating sour cream. He didn’t want to mess with the fat free stuff.
+ His diet consists of low carbs and high proteins. He had to limit the carbs and load up on the colorful stuff and protein.
+ On his relationship with DJ Carton, Wesson said he’s also an emotional guy and he is telling Carton how to control those emotions and when to let him out. Their connection is also really important for ball screens and things like that. Establishing that relationship with him early is big. Helping DJ with his emotions has helped him deal with his own emotions.
+ Kaleb Wesson said he weighs 255 pounds right now. He feels lighter on his feet. His impact on other people is also different.
+ This Cincinnati game is going to show how much heart they really have. It’s an in-state rivalry. Cincinnati is tough and being able to withstand those hits is going to show how this team can handle adversity.
+ “The family environment and cohesiveness of this group is something that you won’t find on a lot of other teams.” He said that connection will help them and that’s really what being a team is about.
+ One game won’t show whether or not they have improved at turnovers but it gives them a glimpse.
+ On starting the season as a ranked team, Wesson said there are a lot of games to play. This team isn’t focused on the outside noise, it’s fools gold in their eyes. Worrying about themselves is the best thing for them right now.
You can watch the full videos below.
Posted by The Ozone on Tuesday, November 5, 2019
Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson
Posted by The Ozone on Tuesday, November 5, 2019