Buckeye State-Based Talent Headlines Recruiting Targets for Ohio State Basketball in 2025

By Andy Anders on May 16, 2024 at 11:21 am
Darryn Peterson

Now that all but one of Ohio State’s scholarships for the 2024-25 basketball season is filled following some work in the transfer portal, the talent acquisition objective for Jake Diebler and his staff has shifted to the 2025 recruiting class.

The Buckeyes inked two prospects in the class of 2024 between four-star point guard Juni Mobley and three-star small forward Colin White, Ohio’s Mr. Basketball this past season. No commitments have landed thus far in the 2025 class for Ohio State, though it does hold a five-star pledge in the class of 2026 from point guard Marcus Johnson, cousin of renewed OSU guard Meechie Johnson.

It’s not atypical for a team to still be searching for its first commitment this time of year. In fact, only three Big Ten squads have secured a pledge for the next cycle. Still, Diebler and company have been busy in recent weeks. Multiple reoffers have been extended to players who were prospects under Chris Holtmann as a solid core of targets has emerged for Diebler’s first recruiting class as head coach.

The team’s pursuits have a lot of Ohio flair, as the list below includes two players from the Buckeye State and two who originally hail from there. Players are ranked based on their connection to Ohio State thus far and overall talent.

2025 Basketball Recruiting Targets
DORIAN JONES SG 6-4 160 ★★★★ Richmond Heights (Cleveland, Ohio)
DARRYN PETERSON SG 6-5 195 ★★★★★ Huntington Prep (Huntington, W. Va.)
NIKO BUNDALO PF 6-11 195 ★★★★ Western Reserve Academy (Hudson, Ohio)
JERRY EASTER II G 6-3 200 ★★★★ La Lumiere School (La Porte, Ind.)
EJ WALKER PF 6-8 230 ★★★★ Lloyd (Erlanger, Ky.)
ERIC REIBE C 7-0 235 ★★★★ The Bullis School (Potomac, Md.)
TREY MCKENNEY SF 6-4 225 ★★★★★ St. Mary's (Flint, Mich.)
CALEB WILSON PF 6-9 205 ★★★★★ Holy Innocents Episcopal (Atlanta, Ga.)
DARIUS ACUFF JR. PG 6-3 180 ★★★★★ IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.)

Dorian Jones, four-star guard

Ohio’s top two prospects in the 247Sports composite rankings have emerged as two top targets for Ohio State, and Jones may be the one they’re in the best position with so far.

Jones took an official visit to Columbus this past weekend, the latest in a string of trips he’s taken to see his home-state school throughout his recruitment.

The Buckeyes were the fifth program to offer him as a freshman and have been in the mix for his commitment since. They are not without challengers for the nation’s No. 53 prospect, however. Jones took official visits to Missouri and Rutgers earlier this year and will visit Michigan in June. A first-team All-Ohio selection, Jones averaged 14.1 points per game for Division IV state champion Richmond Heights. 

Darryn Peterson, five-star guard

Peterson’s recruitment has been far from standard but it appears the Buckeyes are in a good position for the highest-rated prospect on this hotboard.

After cutting his list to eight schools with an inclusion of the Buckeyes earlier this year, Peterson reopened his recruitment this spring after coaching changes at several destinations on his radar, including Ohio State, Kentucky, Michigan and Arkansas.

Originally from Northeast Ohio, Peterson moved to West Virginia to continue his high school basketball career but has taken multiple unofficial visits to the Buckeyes. Ohio State officially reoffered Peterson in April, the same month that Peterson posted a graphic including the logos of OSU, Kentucky, USC and Kansas on his Instagram story.

The No. 3 overall prospect and No. 1 shooting guard in the 247Sports composite, Peterson would be about as big a splash as Diebler could make on the recruiting trail this cycle. It will be a long battle for his services, however.

Niko Bundalo, four-star forward

Ohio’s No. 1 prospect is very much in the sights of Diebler, visiting Ohio State this fall to follow up on an additional visit he took last summer. 

Nearly half of the Big Ten is vying with Ohio State for Bundalo’s services, however, as seven other schools in the conference have extended an offer. Michigan State will be one of the biggest obstacles to overcome with Tom Izzo visiting with the power forward in person this week. Bundalo has also been to the Spartans’ campus. Alabama and UCLA are among others in the mix.

The No. 51 composite prospect in the country, Bundalo possesses solid ball-handling skills and great three-level scoring ability for someone who stands 6-11. He’s a unique talent that shows much of the versatility Diebler valued in his transfer portal acquisitions this spring.

Jerry Easter II, four-star guard

Easter is on the edge of being a five-star, ranked as the No. 25 prospect in the country after seeing a climb in his ranking thanks to some elite play on Nike’s EYBL circuit. Playing for Team Final, Easter has racked up 20.2 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game through six contests, making 57% of his shots.

Set to visit Ohio State officially this fall, Easter joins Peterson in being from Ohio originally, averaging 32.3 points per game for Emmanuel Christian before transferring from the D-IV high school to La Lumiere School in Indiana.

The Buckeyes offered Easter before his freshman season and he’s taken multiple unofficial visits to Columbus. He’s also taken official visits to Georgia Tech and Oregon.

EJ Walker, four-star forward

One of the first players reoffered by Diebler after he was named full-time head coach, Walker is another who has been to Ohio State’s campus on multiple occasions.

Walker took an official visit to Wisconsin a couple of weekends ago, another school he’s been to more than once. He released a top 12 in March that included the Buckeyes and Badgers alongside Cal, Dayton, Illinois, Iowa, Louisville, Minnesota, Purdue, South Carolina, West Virginia and Xavier. Walker is the composite No. 143 prospect in the country.

Eric Reibe, four-star center

Seven-footers with a reliable 3-point stroke are few and far between. That’s probably why the Buckeyes made sure Reibe knew he is still a priority with a reoffer this past week.

Reibe has visited Iowa, Georgetown and Harvard in addition to Ohio State.

“It was a very special trip,” he told On3’s Joe Tipton of his trip to Columbus. “They let me come to a game against Minnesota. It was special to me that they made time to let me go there, talk to all the coaches, the athletic trainers, to see the whole campus. It was good because I was able to see how they play and how I’d fit in.”

Originally from Germany, Reibe now plays his high school basketball in Maryland for The Bullis School. Oregon, Creighton, Michigan and Providence are also in close contact with him.

Trey McKenney, five-star small forward

Michigan’s top prospect and the No. 12 player overall, McKenney averaged 22.8 points, 10.1 rebounds and three assists per game for his state-champion St. Mary’s squad, racking up 32 points in the State Championship Game.

McKenney’s been keeping his recruitment close to the vest but he visited Ohio State in 2022 and Diebler reoffered the wing on May 9.

Caleb Wilson, five-star power forward

Ohio State extended an offer on May 9 to the nation’s No. 4 prospect. The Buckeyes will have some ground to make up to schools like Arkansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, Baylor, Georgia Tech and Auburn if they want to get involved here.

Darius Acuff Jr., five-star point guard

Acuff holds an offer from Ohio State and is a massive talent, but for now, it seems a front four of Kentucky, Michigan, Houston and Kansas has emerged in his recruitment. He’s used an official visit on both the Wolverines and Wildcats so far.

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