COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media on Friday to preview the Buckeyes’ game at Minnesota on Sunday. Holtmann talked about the challenge of playing a Big Ten team on the road, their schedule, and his thoughts on his team right now.
Junior forward Kyle Young and sophomore guard Duane Washington Jr. also answered questions from reporters.
Here’s a summary of what was said.
+ They had finals week this week but he thinks all of his guys are finished. “It’s always an interesting week balancing academics and preparing for your next opponent.”
+ Minnesota has had a challenging schedule. Their venue is a special place to play and it is a great environment. They are a different team this year with the guys they lost but they are very physical. Their sophomore big has had an outstanding start and they have a transfer who is playing really well for them. They have a physical toughness to them. You can tell they are coached to play that way. It will be a great challenge.
+ On the eight day break Holtmann said as a coach you’re looking at things you haven’t addressed properly at the beginning of the week to set the table for the week. They looked at some special situation stuff, end of game stuff, and they had a skill-workout instead of practice Thursday, and gave them some time off early in the week for finals.
+ “It was a good decision not to play but when you’re playing well you’d like to keep playing.”
+ Battling complacency is a constant challenge for a coach. Handing success is hard. The reality is that there has not been a Big Ten win on the road this year and at this point last year they had only one loss and then had January where they didn’t win a game. Their mantra has been to focus on the day ahead of them.
+ There’s a maturity that’s required in handling success. They better have a hungry group for a chance to win in the Big Ten on the road.
+ They love Andre Wesson’s versatility and his leadership with some of the freshman coming off of the bench early. It has been vital for them.
+ Duane Washington Jr. has been in a good rhythm starting. He needs to get better defensively but his offense has been great.
+ They need to get to the line more than their opponents. He doesn’t have a number or percent but D.J. Carton and E.J. Liddell have helped on that end, as well as Kaleb Wesson has helped improve that number.
+ They have taken pretty good 3s. It’s not realistic to think that their high percentages would stay that high through a 30+ game season. But he has liked their shots. If their percentages are low then there are three reasons; you are either a bad shooter and need to take less shots, you are in a slump which won’t last forever, or you are not picking good shots.
+ He thinks they’ve played good basketball but they have a lot to improve on.
+ “We play in the best league in the country.”
+ His objective is to get better this week and have a good day of practice every day. He doesn’t focus on rankings this early on in the season but he is mindful of what his players of digesting.
+ They have a quick turnaround playing again on Tuesday but they are focusing 100 percent on Minnesota.
+ He coached at Williams Arena before as an assistant. “It’s a great environment.”
+ Kaleb Wesson’s ability to give them different games is the sign of a really good player. “He can impact the game and these are his numbers, he can impact the game and these are his numbers.” He is impacting in more ways this year.
+ They are trying to stay on top of conditioning during this break because they have three games in six days after this.
+ Outside of buying something online for his wife, he doesn’t do any Christmas shopping until after their game before Christmas. He will be out and about finding local establishments on the 22nd.
+ On the eight day break Young said it’s good to get rest to get their bodies right. They are keeping the same mentality with prep but practice is a bit different. They have time to work on themselves.
+ He watches a bunch of Big Ten games as they are on.
+ No road team has won a Big Ten game yet, but they know they need to be themselves and prepare the same way.
+ They’ve been working a lot in practice. December is a time a lot of teams can become complacent. They don’t want to
+ On avoiding complacency, Young said they talk about that outside noise and try to keep the same mentality they had in the summer coming in that they know what they got and have to show people that.
+ When he was recruited a lot of the focus was on defense. He knew they were going to be proud of their defense and that was a lot of his recruitment. The family culture was also a big factor. How close and connected they are makes everything easier for them offensively and defensively. It also makes it more fun for them.
+ Their depth is big for them this year and creates challenges for other teams. Everyone knows they have a role on this team. That’s what makes teams great.
+ A lot of his game is energy and effort. He will do whatever he can for the team so that they can win.
Duane Washington Jr.
+ They were off Monday, worked Tuesday and Wednesday, Thursday they had a skill workout, and they are back to practice on Friday.
+ It’s a blessing and a burden. If teams are on a roll and you have a week off it can hurt you. But you can recuperate and rest your body for the upcoming games.
+ They’ve been watching the games and see things on social media but they are staying focused on their team.
+ On his hot shooting Washington Jr. said he worked really hard in the summer.
+ He is fine with coming off the bench or being in the starting five. He trusts the coaching staff and what they want for him.
+ He could tell from watching practice on his recruitment visits that defense was big at Ohio State. It was something he overlooked as a younger player but when he got here that all changed. He wanted to be challenged. Getting better on that side of the ball was good for him.
+ Everyone has their thoughts on what they were going to accomplish this year but they haven’t accomplished anything, it’s December. They are going to attack the day and attack the next game.
+ “Being able to switch roles on this team creates trust and to be able to switch on to four or have Kyle pick up a guard in transition, trusting each other and doing your job is important and goes a long way.”
+ He missed part of practice earlier this week due to a back spasm but he is good to go and has been practicing. It was precautionary and is being taken care of.
You can watch the full interviews below.
Posted by The Ozone on Friday, December 13, 2019
Duane Washington Jr. and Kyle Young
Posted by The Ozone on Friday, December 13, 2019