Chris Holtmann provides summer update on Buckeyes basketball team


COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Coach Chris Holtmann provided an update on Ohio State with the 2021-22 men’s basketball season just over three months away.

The Buckeyes are eager to get started after last season ended in a shocking loss to Oral Roberts in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

OSU’s roster looks a little different, most notably with the departure of point guard CJ Walker and guard Duane Washington Jr., who hopes to hear his name called Thursday in the NBA draft.

Ohio State was fortunate to get several players back, including forwards Kyle Young and E.J. Liddell.

Holtmann said Liddell will play most of the season at the No. 4 power forward position rather than center, where he played most of last season. Stepping into the big man role will be a combination of Indiana transfer Joey Brunk and Zed Key, who had an impressive freshman season.

The Buckeyes also brought in some talent from recruiting and the transfer portal.

New Buckeyes

  • Jamari Wheeler (Penn State transfer, grad)
  • Joey Brunk (Indiana transfer, grad)
  • Cedric Russell (Louisiana transfer, grad)
  • Malaki Branham (St. Vincent-St. Mary, true freshman)
  • Kalen Etzler (Crestview High School, true freshman)

Holtmann announced Etzler will redshirt this season, and Branham, who was named 2021 Ohio Mr. Basketball, has been making strides during the offseason.

Despite Washington’s departure, the Buckeyes will be bolstered by the return of players like Justice Sueing, Justin Ahrens, Cedric Russell, and Seth Towns, who dealt with a knee injury all of last season.

Ohio State’s 2021-22 team will also feature nine players who are either seniors or graduates after the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to all student-athletes due to the pandemic.

“There will never be a time when we have a roster like the one we have right now,” Holtmann said.

Holtmann was also asked about J.T. Tuimoloau, the No. 1 football recruit in the country, who committed to Ohio State a few weeks ago.

Tuimoloau has said he wants to try to walk onto the Buckeyes basketball team and had offers from Oregon and Washington to play both basketball and football.

“We’re a ways away from him stepping onto a court,” Holtmann said.

Ohio State’s season begins Nov. 9 at home against Akron. The Buckeyes’ nonconference schedule is highlighted by a road game against Xavier on Nov. 18, a home game vs. Duke on Nov. 30 and neutral-site game vs. Kentucky on Dec. 18 in Las Vegas.

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