Basketball Recruiting Notebook: Checking in on Ohio State Targets Following First July Evaluation Period

By Tim Shoemaker on July 17, 2017 at 10:10 am
2019 Ohio State target Jeremiah Francis.

The first of three July evaluation periods came and went over the weekend.

Coaches scattered all across the country to watch top prospects in the 2018, 2019 and 2020 classes. It's a time when programs can really determine who exactly their top targets are in each class.

It was also the first evaluation period for Chris Holtmann as the head coach at Ohio State. Holtmann is attempting to bring the Buckeyes program back to prominence and he'll do so by hitting the ground running on the recruiting trail.

Let's take a look at some prospects Holtmann and his staff — Ryan Pedon, Mike Schrage and Terry Johnson — checked out over the weekend.

Editor's note: This is not a full list but some of what was available on social media.

Buckeyes Continue to Target Elijah Weaver

It's no secret Ohio State wants to add another guard to its 2018 class in addition to Torrence Watson and Holtmann was out and active checking out some top ones around the country over the weekend.

One of his first stops, according to Rivals analyst Eric Bossi, was to see top-40 prospect Elijah Weaver on the Under Armour circuit.

Weaver, a 6-foot-4 point guard from Oldsmar, Florida, is rated as the No. 9 point guard nationally and is the No. 36-ranked player in the 2018 class, according to 247Sports composite. He is also considering Villanova, Florida, Maryland and Louisville, among others.

Eyes on Eric Hunter, Darius Days

Two additional players on the Under Armour circuit Holtmann reportedly checked out early on were four-star guard Eric Hunter and four-star forward Darius Days.

Hunter is a smooth 6-foot-3 left-handed guard out of Indianapolis who was a big target of Holtmann's at Butler. It appears to be a Midwest battle for the four-star guard as Purdue, Xavier, Butler, Minnesota and others are at the top of Hunter's list in addition to the Buckeyes.

Bossi also reported Holtmann got a good look at Days, a four-star forward out of Gainesville, Florida. The hometown Gators are an obvious favorite in this one, but Days also picked up an offer from Louisville over the weekend. Ohio State would like to bring in a big man in 2018 and it appears the 6-foot-8 Days might be their top target at this point. 

Keeping Tabs on Richardson

Sticking with the theme of guards, another player Holtmann checked out over the weekend was four-star point guard Will Richardson

Many peg the battle for the 6-foot-4 Richardson to come down to Alabama and Georgia, but Holtmann and Co. appear to be making the Midway, Georgia native a top priority at the guard position. 

Richardson is the No. 68-ranked overall prospect in the country for the 2018 class, according to the 247Sports composite.

A New Target?

Holtmann watched another guard over the weekend — one we hadn't heard much of before in regards to ties to Ohio State. Along with a handful of other coaches, Holtmann checked out top-75 point guard Noah Locke.

Locke is a four-star point guard out of Owings Mills, Maryland. He has reported offers from Michigan, Maryland, West Virginia, Providence, Virginia, Xavier and many more. There was no reported offer from the Buckeyes just yet, but it's something to keep an eye on.

Two Top Ohio Prospects Get Looks

A pair of names who Ohio State fans have surely heard before are Jerome Hunter and Jeremiah Francis. The Buckeyes' staff watched both over the weekend.

It's going to be a battle for Ohio State with Hunter — arguably the state of Ohio's top player in 2018. He's also strongly considering Michigan, Xavier, Indiana and Pitt so the Buckeyes have work to do in this one.

Francis, the state's top 2019 prospect, is an Ohio State legacy. He picked up an offer over the weekend from Florida State, but the Buckeyes are still in good position with this Central Ohio product.

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