When Chris Holtmann arrived on campus at Ohio State, depth at the guard position was the main area of concern with the Buckeyes' roster.
Suddenly, it has become Ohio State's strength.
Holtmann won his most intense recruiting battle yet on Saturday, as he landed five-star point guard DJ Carton, beating out the likes of Indiana and Michigan for the Iowa native's services.
Carton announced his commitment just one day after returning from his official visit to Ohio State, and just six days after announcing his final three list, which included the Buckeyes alongside Michigan and Indiana.
The Iowa native is the second commitment in the 2019 class, joining Garfield Heights (Ohio) product Alonzo Gaffney who committed April 10. Following the biggest commitment yet in the Holtmann era, we decided to take a look at what Carton might bring to the table.
On The Court
Carton gives Ohio State an immediate playmaking guard that can step in and start from the moment he arrives at the Schottenstein Center.
At 6-foot-1, 189 pounds, he could step onto a college floor right now and contribute, yet he has one year of high school left to play. The only issue Chris Holtmann might have is figuring out whether to play Florida State transfer CJ Walker and Carton together, or bring Walker off the bench in relief of Carton.
Should Luther Muhammad stick around for a sophomore season, Carton and Muhammad could become one of the more dynamic backcourts in the conference, if not the country. Carton is most dangerous with the ball in his hands, and Muhammad can play off the ball as well as create off the dribble, making Ohio State extremely versatile, with a veteran like Walker able to add consistency and reliability.
Add in the likes of Gaffney and assuming Holtmann is able to add one or two more pieces to this class, Ohio State could very well be a Big Ten title contender in 2019-2020, if not a Final Four contender. Both Carton and Gaffney are one-and-done candidates, so Holtmann's third season could very well be Ohio State's best chance at returning to the final weekend of the season.
In The Class
Carton, Gaffney and Walker give Ohio State three more than solid pieces to a class that the Buckeyes desperately need to be good following the eventual departure of veteran guard C.J. Jackson. The 2018 class of Muhammad, Jaedon LeDee, Justin Ahrens and Duane Washington was a good start, but the 2019 class is shaping up to be an all-time great one.
There are now six top-30 prospects committed from the class of 2019. Two are committed to Kentucky, two are committed to USC, two are committed to Ohio State.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 14, 2018
Ohio State went from being unable to land in-state recruits to all of a sudden recruiting the best player in Iowa to come to Columbus. What Holtmann has done on the recruiting trail since arriving at Ohio State is nothing short of extraordinary.
Now, the Buckeyes will likely begin to focus their efforts on the wing and post positions in the 2019 class. Three-point specialist Brandon Newman picked up an offer last week and could be a good complement to the playmaking abilities of both Carton and Muhammad. A catch-and-shoot player, Newman could also space the floor well for the Buckeye guards to drive the lane. Even so, Gaffney has shown the ability to knock down outside shots as well as score in the paint, much like Keita Bates-Diop did last season.
Carton saw his stock rise dramatically following his junior season at Bettendorf High School and quickly caught the eye of multiple premier programs. Ohio State offered Carton on Dec. 19 and hosted him on an unofficial visit during the football spring game.
Ohio State's current and future roster likely deserves a lot of credit for Carton's commitment. Joey Lane spoke about his role in recruiting players on Wednesday, and the Buckeyes brought Gaffney into town for Carton's official visit to spend time with his fellow high-profile recruit.