COLUMBUS — Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media on Tuesday to preview the Buckeyes’ home game against Rutgers on Wednesday night.
Freshman forward E.J. Liddell and sophomore guard Luther Muhammad also answered questions from reporters.
Here’s a summary of what was said.
+ “Rutgers has had a great season. They are a top 25 or 30 team in all of the metrics.”
+ He is trying to figure out what Luther Muhammad and Kyle Young have to do to stay sharp and ready for games but at the same time they are thin in some spots and need them. It’s a fine line.
+ Luther Muhammad has to understand who he is as a player. He was one of the few bright spots the other day.
+ On opponents shooting 20% higher from three when Kaleb Wesson is off the floor, Holtmann said there are a few things that it could be.
+ “You always wish you’d perform better and compete at a much higher level. But you don’t ever think you’re past anything.”
+ Kaleb Wesson off the court affected them offensively and defensively on Sunday. More than it had in prior games.
+ “We are a team that is still growing and still going through frustrations, but some really good and positive moments. We have guys who are going through the normal stuff you go through in a season, playing confident and then stub their toes. There’s still a lot of games to be played. In this league, they just keep coming, home and road, and you have to adjust and be prepared for that.”
+ The sophomores have had good moments.
+ “Kaleb Wesson gives us something that no one else does.”
+ A lot of Rutgers’ rotation players are back. They have consistency in that program. They are big, long, really good athletes. The consistency of their roster has helped them a lot.
+ Everybody is disappointed by the other day, they have to learn from it and put it behind them. They have to make the corrections but it can’t stay with them. “How resilient you are in this league defines you in a lot of ways and it says a lot about you as a group.” So much of that is determined by the leadership in the group.
+ On E.J. Liddell’s performance on Sunday, Holtmann said he didn’t continue doing the things he had been doing well in the first half but in the second half he responded. That’s a step for freshman.
+ “This is the best league I have ever been a part of in terms of depth.”
+ He would like to make strides in their defensive efficiency. It takes elite level effort and attention to detail.
+ Ibrahima Diallo is always an option. He is getting better at practice, he needs to stay ready.
+ They are trying to get better everyday. Wisconsin had momentum coming into the second half but he feels like they are playing like a team who is winning. “It’s hard to win more than three or four games in a row in the Big Ten.”
+ They are letting the ball get around them too well on defense. It’s hard to stop three point shooters when they rotate, they have to know personnel.
+ When Kaleb Wesson is on the floor, he is a big presence in the paint. He guards the paint really well.
+ They have to stay together when Kaleb Wesson is off the floor. They can’t peel apart and do their own things.
+ When Kyle Young isn’t playing, everyone has to bring an additional aggressiveness and energy in practice.
+ The Big Ten is probably the best conference in basketball this year. They will probably send 10-11 teams to the tournament.
+ Being at home brings them energy. When they come back to their home place they have a lot of support and energy.
+ He is going through shoulder injuries and is doing rehab everyday to strengthen his shoulders. He isn’t doing anything in practice that will put him at jeopardy. His shoulder isn’t stable but he doesn’t have concerns when he is playing. He had a back spasm before the Northwestern game. He is working through that as well.
+ He would rather wear the shoulder brace on his left side because it is not his shooting arm. The brace has to adjust to how strong he shoots.
+ On Sunday they weren’t tough enough as a group. Their mindset is next day to get better. No one’s holding anything, having regrets, they are moving on.
+ A lot of time is left after halftime, even if they’re down eight or even 30, they take it one possession at a time and then focus on the next. The second half is plenty of time to get back in the game.
+ Come tournament time they will have to win five or so in a row. They have to take it one game at a time, pay attention to details, watch film, and effort– effort plays a big role in things.
+ They miss D.J. Carton, they miss him and need him. They need all of their players but it’s next man up. They have to continue to play hard. They have to play with the cards they are dealt.
+ “Just continue to be me.” He has to continue to work on it, stay in the gym, stay with it, and sooner or later the results will show.
+ He knows the majority of the players on the Rutgers team. He has always thought they were a good team, they play hard, they have always been solid.
You can watch the full videos below.
Posted by The Ozone on Tuesday, February 11, 2020
E.J. Liddell and Luther Muhammad
Posted by The Ozone on Tuesday, February 11, 2020