COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann spoke one-on-one with NBC4 sports director Jerod Smalley on Thursday ahead of the NBA Draft.
The draft features two Buckeyes, Malaki Branham and E.J. Liddell, who are projected to be picked in the first round. If that happens, it will be the first time since 2007 when two Buckeyes were selected in the first round of the same draft. They will also be the first Buckeyes drafted in four years.
Holtmann spent time with Branham on Wednesday who’s in New York City where the draft is being held. The OSU coach will spend draft day with Liddell who will be watching from his hometown in Belleville, Illinois.
You can watch that full interview in the video player above.
As a true freshman, Branham played in 32 games averaging 13.7 points while shooting an impressive 49.8% from the field. He struggled early in the season but averaged 17 points a game during a 22-game stretch from Jan. 2 through the end of the season.
Branham grew up in Akron and played for St. Vincent-St. Mary, the same high school made famous by LeBron James. Branham led the Fighting Irish to the 2021 Division II state championship and was named Mr. Basketball in Ohio for the 2020-21 season.
Liddell, a two-time first team All-Big Ten honoree and consensus All-American, became the 33rd Buckeye in the university’s men’s basketball history to earn 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
Liddell averaged 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds. 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists per game last season, becoming the third player over the last 30 years to average those numbers during a full season.