COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Chris Holtmann and women’s basketball head coach Kevin McGuff spoke with reporters on Monday as a part of Ohio State’s annual basketball media day.
You can read the highlights from the press conferences below.
+ Congratulations to Ryan Day and his team. The basketball team watched it together. He is really happy for Ryan and his players.
+ The team starts practice this week and has 30 practices, 42 days out from their first game. It is a really important time to build consistent habits and the next 4-6 weeks are about building the system and the habits they need with this team.
+ He believes this is the best schedule they have had since he has been at Ohio State. They have challenging, quality, and traditional power opponents and an unbelievable Big Ten schedule with good home games. “This is as good of a schedule as we’ve had.”
+ The coaches have a lot more ‘knowns’ than they did last year at this time. They are still a young team with age and class but the experience that the sophomores got last year will prove beneficial.
+ On bringing Buckeye basketball “back,” Holtmann said they all have that edge to them and scars to them from last year. There is power in the pain they went through last year and they want to use that to provide fuel. “I don’t think you can go through what we went through last year and not feel that way.”
+ On the transfer players and freshman class, Holtmann said three transfers and a large freshman class brings a new dynamic. In a way, they may not need to be quite as reliant on the young core of freshmen as they did last year, which is good all around.
+ On a team Hocking Hills trip, Holtmann said it was beneficial to spend time together and talk about the upcoming season without phones for the weekend. But there was a TV so that they could watch the Ohio State vs Notre Dame football game.
+ Jamison Battle can score the ball and they needed that with the loss of some of their wings. He will be working on his rebounding on both ends and defending.
+ On Zed Key’s body and weight loss in the offseason, Holtmann said the coaches are talking about how they want to use him and they will have a package where they play bigger and play him at the 4. He has a strong presence and they don’t want him to lose that. But his mobility has been great.
+ On defensive efficiency, Holtmann said they have a goal with that and it has taken a lot of study over the offseason to find the right number. This group has the ability to be a much-improved defensive team, but they have to go do it. “That has certainly been a point of emphasis.”
+ The sophomores need to play an important role on this team. Bruce Thornton is going to be at the forefront of any leadership role and the direction this team takes.
+ On the game of basketball changing, Holtmann said the game has changed significantly with the transfer portal but it was always bigger in basketball in the past. The hardest thing about it is for the fans because they have a hard time getting to know the players and what the roster looks like.
+ The team became more efficient offensively when they played through Bruce Thornton last year. They will continue to play through him and he will be a focal point of the team on both ends.
+ There are a few players out with minor injuries but nothing major, they are all-in-all pretty healthy, but he would love for them to be perfect moving into the next couple of weeks.
+ Madison Greene is recovering well. She is very diligent and is working really hard. “We feel good with where she’s at right now.”
+ On the preseason expectations, McGuff is emphasizing that it’s a new year and a new team. They made some good additions but they also lost Taylor Mikesell. They will look a bit different but they want to re-create the chemistry and the work ethic and shoot for even higher goals. They will need other people to step up and make shots from around the perimeter.
+ This is the most depth they have had in a long time.
+ Cotie McMahon had a great summer with USA Basketball. She had a key role in that team and played with good players. Her ability to learn from that experience will help her game this season.
+ The goal is to be better in the half court defensively and be better at rebounding. The makeup of the team should allow them to be much better on the defensive side.
+ Their off-court chemistry last year contributed a lot to the success of the team. So far, it looks like it should be another good season of that.
+ Jacy Sheldon being back is huge for this team. She represents the program well and is the engine that makes the team go on offense and in their press. “She’s a huge part of what we do.”
+ This is as good as the Big Ten has ever been. The fans are coming out, the talent is there, and the environments are getting tough to play in. A lot of schools have taken advantage of the extra year of eligibility due to the COVID season, including Ohio State, so there are a lot of veteran players in the league all around.
Photo via Ohio State Dept. of Athletics.