Full Court Press: Ohio State Hitting The Recruiting Trail Hard After Year One Under Chris Holtmann

By James Grega on April 20, 2018 at 1:06 pm
Ryan Pedon, E.J. Liddell, Chris Holtmann

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Welcome to the first edition of Full Court Press, our basketball version of The Hurry Up. Full Court Press will appear weekly during the basketball offseason, with hoops recruiting in full swing.

One of the many reasons Ohio State made a change at head coach in June of 2017 was because the recruiting had seriously fallen off in the final years of the Thad Matta era. 

Chris Holtmann is doing everything in his power to make sure those problems don't carry over into his tenure in Columbus. 

Entering his first full offseason as Ohio State's head coach, Holtmann has already had plenty of success on the recruiting trail, landing Florida State transfer point guard CJ Walker and 2019 prospect Alonzo Gaffney, who is rated as the top player in the state of Ohio in his class. 

Since then, the Buckeyes have continued to target a number of graduate transfers as well as the 2019 class, which is shaping up to be a monster class for Holtmann. 

Building For 2018-19

The Buckeyes have hosted a few graduate transfers since the 2017-18 season ended, as Ohio State tries to add a floor general for Holtmann's second season in Columbus. 

Ohio State's focus appears to be on Wake Forest transfer Keyshawn Woods, who took a visit to Columbus last weekend. The Buckeyes were also reportedly interested in UAB transfer Nick Norton, but apparently the two sides are no longer in discussions, as multiple reports indicated Norton's visit to Ohio State, set for this week, was cancelled. 

Woods averaged 11.9 points and 1.9 assists per game last season for the Demon Deacons, however saw his playing time dip from the 2016-17 season in which he started 22 games. He started just five last season for Wake Forest. 

Another name that has surfaced for Ohio State hoops is Samford graduate transfer guard  Justin Coleman. 

Coleman averaged 13.5 points and 6.6 assists per game last season for Samford, his only season with the Bulldogs. Coleman spent the first two years of his basketball career at Alabama.

The former member of the Crimson Tide was a four-star prospect coming out of high school and a top-100 player in the 2014 class. He has reportedly scheduled and or taken visits with Arizona and SMU. 

Holtmann, who initially said the Buckeyes might attempt to add as many as two players to its 2018 class which already sits at four, said Tuesday that Ohio State will now aim to add just one player to next season's roster. 

"I think we could add one more player, but I doubt we'll add more than that," Holtmann said during a radio interview on ESPN1380 in Fort Wayne, Indiana. "It will probably sit at one more. It would help if we could add an older guy that could bring in good play and leadership, in terms of a fifth-year transfer. Those are some of the things we're looking at right now."

Looking To The Future

Ohio State's 2018 class – outside of the possible addition of a graduate transfer – is complete with Luther Muhammad, Jaedon LeDee, Justin Ahrens and Duane Washington set to suit up for the Buckeyes next season. 

The class behind them is shaping up to be a special one for Ohio State with both Gaffney and Walker set to take the court for the Scarlet and Gray in 2019-2020. The Buckeyes have room to add more pieces to that class however, and Holtmann has been busy recruiting the 2019 cycle. 

Since the season ended, Ohio State has twice made the trip to Southfield, Mich. to visit 2019 point guard prospect Harlond Beverly, a player that ranks as the No. 6 overall point guard prospect in his class and the No. 61 overall recruit according to 247sports.

Beverly is considered a heavy lean towards Michigan State and holds offers from a number of other premier schools including Michigan, Xavier and Missouri. 

Another prospect on Ohio State's radar is E.J. Liddell, a power forward out of Illinois. Assistant coach Ryan Pedon accompanied Holtmann for an in-home visit with Liddell in early April, shortly after the college hoops season came to an end. 

It was Ohio State's first in-home visit with Liddell, who is the reigning Mr. Basketball in the state of Illinois and the No. 2 overall prospect in the state according to 247sports. He is also rated as the No. 52 prospect in the country. His recruitment to Ohio State could be influenced however, by Gaffney's commitment which came just two days after Holtmann's visit. 

Perhaps the most high-profile recruit Ohio State has been in to see in recent days is combo guard Cole Anthony, the sone of former college and NBA standout Greg Anthony. 

The Buckeyes were reportedly set to visit Anthony this week, with assistant coach Mike Schrage making the trip to New York. 

Anthony is the No. 5 overall prospect in the 2019 cycle according to 247sports, and is considered a hard lean to Duke. However, Jeff Capel was reportedly his main recruiter by Duke. Capel is now the head coach at Pittsburgh, and Adam Zagoria has reported that another Duke assistant and former player Jon Scheyer is now recruiting Anthony. 

Other basketball powers visiting Anthony this week included Michigan, Louisville, Villanova and Duke.

According to Rivals.com's Corey Evans, Holtmann was also in recently to visit a pair of players in Isaiah Stewart of Rochester, N.Y. and Emanuel Miller from Canada. 

Stewart is a five-star center prospect at just 6-foot-8 and is rated as the No. 25 overall prospect in the nation according to 247sports. Miller, a three-star prospect, holds offers from Oklahoma, Pitt, St. Bonaventure and SMU. Ohio State has not yet offered Miller.

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