COLUMBUS- The Buckeyes wrapped up their non-conference schedule with a 59-67 loss to West Virginia. They are now looking to bounce back and start Big Ten play with a win against Wisconsin on Friday.
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media on Thursday to preview the Buckeyes’ game against Wisconsin. Holtmann provided injury updates with his team, talked about Micah Potter at Wisconsin, and the mindset of his team moving forward. Senior forward Andre Wesson and sophomore guard Luther Muhammad also answered questions from reporters.
Here’s a summary of what was said.
+ They are facing a team that is playing really good basketball right now. They are in a really good rhythm and are an older and disciplined team that is well-coached.
+ “Big Ten play is here. We are going to need good preparation today.”
+ Kyle Young will be out against Wisconsin. He is game-to-game at this point but ruled out for tomorrow’s game. He is recovering well. In these kind of things it’s next man up, but Holtmann doesn’t want to minimize Young’s impact. Young had his appendix removed. It bothered him in the past but timing on that is always a difficult one. He had stomach issues right before tip, like five minutes before tip.
+ Justin Ahrens will see an opportunity with Young out.
+ Alonzo Gaffney was out this week with a flu situation and a couple of other guys are banged up right now. “Not an ideal time for this to happen but guys will be ready to go and have a great opportunity.”
+ Musa Jallow is not ready to come back at this point. It is probably trending towards a redshirt situation. It could potentially change but he is just now getting to a little bit of contact in practice.
+ They have more depth and balance than they had last year. He is interested to see how they respond.
+ On the second half against West Virginia, Holtmann said they just didn’t play as poised or as smart as they needed to. He thought they were just a little too concerned about their own stuff in that game and that happens with young teams. They just weren’t collectively engaged in the game as they needed to be.
+ He and Gene Smith wrote a letter on Micah Potter’s behalf and both stated that they wanted him to play the whole year. They were as adamant as they could have been. He thinks Thad Matta also wrote a letter.
+ “If you get to 10-15 games of light competition, you generally get a pretty good gauge on where your team is at. You get to 15 of those games against similar completion, in mid-January, you usually get a good gauge on where you’re at.”
+ His team is an exciting group to follow because of the mix of the old and young guys and the way Kaleb Wesson has changed his body. They have also had some exciting wins. It is an enjoyable group but they have to earn the right to get to where they want to go.
+ “There’s nothing more important than today. Today is what’s in front of us and maximizing that.” He has to state that over and over again because of the youth of this group.
+ On the five sellouts, Holtmann said it’s tremendous. They like a crowd that brings tremendous energy.
+ “People are going to follow if your team has some energy around it.” They have had some wins that caught the attention of fans and then guys like Kaleb Wesson and young players, it brings excitement. But they have to do their part and continue to win.
+ On Kyle Young, Holtmann said he is very mature. He was homesick his first year and now he’s frustrated with the fact that he’s missed some games here. He wants nothing more than to be out there.
+ They have looked at giving Luther Muhammad the ball more and including him in more because of how little he turns the ball over. But the turnovers are pretty spread out and they have to do a good job of getting those guys better in that area, not pulling the ball out of their hands.
+ They feel good about their non-conference.
+ Right now they are in a good spot but can definitely be better. Their non-conference schedule prepared them for the rest of the season because they played so many different teams who play very different ways and styles. The high energy and competitive nature prepared them and let them know that they have to continue to work hard. Nothing is given and wins are hard.
+ They are calling this Wisconsin game a ‘grind it out game.’
+ West Virginia wasn’t one of their best poised games. They could have been more poised and could have had more attention to detail.
+ The team facing many different styles of play in the non-conference taught them more about themselves, maybe more than in previous years.
+ “Everyone in the Big Ten is physical.”
+ They are sad that Kyle Young is out they are going to miss him but he motivated them to go on.
+ His resolution for the team is to never get complacent.
+ His performance against West Virginia was just a result of his hard work but he thanks his teammates for that. He also credited the preparation he put in.
+ Going into the season they knew they had a tough non-conference schedule. They know the Big Ten will be a fight every night but the non-conference schedule gave them the confidence they need for the Big Ten.
+ On five of their Big Ten games being sold out, Wesson said he doesn’t have social media so he doesn’t follow all of the hype but “anytime you’re a good team more people are going to follow and want to watch.”
+ On Kyle Young’s performance, he said “KY is going to give you all he’s got even when he might not have it. He means a lot to us.”
+ It should fun facing Micah Potter. They wish him the best and are glad he is somewhere that fits him.
+ Kaleb Wesson does it all. With his weight loss he expanded his game and everyone knows what he does for the team. Kaleb is gonna foul that’s what he does, but defensively he’s got a lot better. He’s improved his game a lot and defensively you definitely see that.
+ Nothing specifically needs to change but they need to keep doing what they’re doing, not getting side tracked and staying focused each and every day. He hopes that’s everyone’s resolution, to get better every day.
+ “From now on it’s heavy hitters. You have to show up and be ready to play. It’s the Big Ten.”
+ When his injury first happened it definitely set him back but after that he’s just been getting back into things and trying to recover.
+ Getting stops is going to be huge against Wisconsin. They take pride in defense and trying to get stops and defensive rebounds. It’s huge for what they want to do going forward.
+ He is a football fan and is kind of sad it’s over. Hopefully they can keep it going. The team definitely notices more talk about them but they focus on what they can control and go out and compete.
You can watch the full videos below.
Posted by The Ozone on Thursday, January 2, 2020
Andre Wesson and Luther Muhammad
Posted by The Ozone on Thursday, January 2, 2020