COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media on Thursday to preview the Buckeyes’ home game against Indiana on Saturday.
Sophomore forward Justin Ahrens and freshman forward E.J. Liddell also answered questions from reporters.
Here’s a summary of what was said.
+ Important month for them coming up. They have a really good Indiana team this weekend. He has a lot of respect for how they are playing and they saw how good they are when they went to their place a few weeks ago.
+ Holtmann said he was disappointed with their second half there. His team has made progress in some ares, more efficient offensively, defensively they have been more spotty and not as consistent as he would have liked them to be. They have gotten more physical but still have room to grow there.
+ The biggest issue for them on the offensive end is taking care of the ball. But they have shared the ball well, have added diversity to their offense, and have done good job getting to the line at times but they have to be more sure with the ball.
+ Indiana is a terrific offensive rebounding team, they do a great job pursuing the ball. How big and physical they were was what they felt coming out of that game. Indiana’s guards also played well against them.
+ On Justin Ahrens, Holtmann said he has to continue to compete on the defensive end and he is only a month in to actually feeling like 100 percent. But he has been very willing on the defensive end. He has to be smarter in how he defends and guards, he fouls a bit too much and he just has not had enough live action to continue to grow in that area because of his injuries but he is growing. He defended well against Northwestern.
+ The game is slowing down for D.J. Carton a bit. He is understanding more of what you can and can’t do at this level.
+ “It’s hard not to know the rankings if you’re involved in any media at all. It’s the reality. But they also understand it’s a 20 game season and our focus has to be on the moment and improving and getting better. The message is that it’s about the moment ahead of us right now.”
+ They’ve had more illness/injury than they’ve ever had.
+ He probably would have liked to play again this week. They took a step forward and would like to have carried that momentum as soon as possible. But they have a few guys dealing with some things and hopefully can have a few good days of practice.
+ “They know the turnovers we take issue with and the turnovers you live with.”
+ Multiple people touch the ball so there’s more opportunity to turn the ball over. More guys have to understand the value of the ball.
+ “The women’s game is different but you’re amazed at the level of athleticism in the games at the highest level.” He really respected the stance Kobe took on that.
+ The players are continuing to work through Kobe’s death.
+ They need to get healthy the next couple of days. It’s an important couple of days getting healthy.
+ Musa Jallow and Justice Sueing both had successful surgeries and should be back for the majority of the summer.
+ “Kaleb Wesson needs to get better at finishing two point field goals and we’re working on that with him. He’s a willing passer and he’s able to make three or four threes a game. He’s doing what our team is needing him to do.”
+ The past two weeks he has been feeling better. His speed and his vertical are back. He said he feels good.
+ He felt really comfortable on the floor at Northwestern. His teammates found him and he made the shots. He was locked in to attention to detail on defense.
+ They’ve gotten a lot tougher and smarter since the first Indiana game. They are not where they need to be but are taking steps in the right direction.
+ If he catches the ball the right way he feels that it will go in every time.
+ Kobe’s mentality and how he always brought the right attitude was big for him.
+ On road trips they usually have the same routine, but the walk at Northwestern was different and it was a nice change of routine. They passed three or four groups of Buckeyes shouting out their cars at them.
+ He pretty much had to learn to walk on his left leg again. His first month he was on bedrest. His teammates helped him through that dark time.
+ He tries to get 500 makes on off-days, about 600-700 shots usually. On game-days about 100-200 shots. He goes seven spots and has to make two or three in a row before he moves on.
+ “Indiana came out more aggressive than we did.” They got comfortable and we have to get teams out of their rhythms.
+ It has been a rough five years for his brother with his injuries but it was great to see him out there. Hopefully he can stay healthy too.
+ They did a lot of film this week and looked at simple mistakes and points they left off of the board. They focused on improving their game over this last week.
+ They are trying to pick up on the details more than anything.
+ “Kobe is my favorite players of all time.” His Twitter name is for Shaq and Kobe. He worked on his shot because of Kobe. “It’s sad to see him go, he was a big inspiration for the game.”
+ They went on a team walk at Northwestern to the lake and they connected on a different level. No phones and they got some fresh air.
+ Indiana had home court advantage there the first time and they got comfortable. He couldn’t make a free throw there for some reason but he worked on that.
You can watch the full videos below.
Posted by The Ozone on Thursday, January 30, 2020
Posted by The Ozone on Thursday, January 30, 2020