Full Court Press: Chris Holtmann Discusses Recruiting Philosophy, Handling Official Visits

By James Grega on July 20, 2018 at 1:06 pm
Chris Holtmann

Welcome to the Full Court Press, your weekly destination for offseason Ohio State basketball recruiting updates.

In case you haven't heard by now, Ohio State had a pretty solid week on the recruiting trail. 

On Saturday, the Buckeyes earned a commitment from five-star point guard DJ Carton, the highest-rated prospect to commit to Ohio State since D'Angelo Russell in 2014. The signing of Carton, mixed in with the remaining targets in both the 2019 and 2020 cycles, seems to be setting a trend of developing a more athletic, versatile lineup. 

In years past, Ohio State's roster looked, at least to the untrained eye, very traditional in the sense that each player had a set position that they would very rarely stray from. Since Chris Holtmann's arrival, however, players have been put into situations they wouldn't normally play. Much of this was out of pure necessity in 2017-18, but in the future, could be more by design. 

Speaking to Eleven Warriors on Monday, Holtmann said that because of the low numbers following Thad Matta's departure, Ohio State has had to recruit nearly every position. However, in rebuilding the roster it has been clear the Buckeyes want players that can play multiple spots. 

"When we got in here what we recognized, particularly with the middle classes, was we were really thin in numbers. You could make the argument that we needed a lot of everything," Holtmann said. "Some of it is just a byproduct of us being super-aggressive knowing we had some work to do in these first three or four recruiting classes. But we do like multi-positional and multi-dimensional, versatile guys. We still have to continue to improve in that area.

"I think we need to continue to address some things. I feel like we have been able to find some guys that physically look like they're ready, even though the mental adjustment when you transition from high school to college is as important as anything."

Ohio State has already brought in multi-positional players for the coming season, including combo guard Duane Washington and forward Jaedon LeDee, who figures to play both the 'four' and the 'five' for the Buckeyes this season with his length and size. 

In the 2019 class, Holtmann has already landed Alonzo Gaffney, a player who fits the mold of a more athletic Keita Bates-Diop, a player Holtmann played at three different positions last year. Add in a dynamic guard like Carton, and Ohio State's roster is beginning to transition from a more traditional roster to one that can play small or big without giving up much athleticism. 

Hectic Week

Carton's official visit to Columbus last week was one of the more publicized visits by a basketball prospect in recent years, and Ohio State apparently handled it as well as it possibly could have, as the Iowa native announced his commitment the day after the trip was over.

The trip gained publicity when Holtmann was spotted at Peach Jam during Carton's visit, giving some the impression that the head coach was blowing off the prospect's trip. On the contrary, Holtmann was able to be involved with both, and said there was plenty of in-depth planning that went into being in Columbus for the official visit and also making the trip to Peach Jam to watch a handful of other OSU targets in action.

"It was unique to say the least. I have been doing this 20-plus years, and it was very unique. It was funny the number of people I was on the road with who said to me, 'I didn't even know you could do that,'" Holtmann said when discussing summer official visits for recruits. "I give our compliance a lot of credit. We put great thought into all of it. It's not like I got up Thursday morning and said, 'I think I will go to Peach (Jam).' We will leave it at that."

Carton, who is Ohio State's second commit in the 2019 class, spoke with local Iowa media about his commitment on Monday, a portion of which you can see below. 

Buckeyes Offer 3-star Forward

On Monday, Ohio State offered three-star Maxwell Lorca-Lloyd, a 6-foot-9 forward out of Massachusetts. 

Lorca-Lloyd has accumulated 16 total offers and could possibly be a backup plan for the Buckeyes at the power forward position if they miss out on the likes of EJ Liddell, who now appears to be their top-target following the commitment of Carton. 

You can watch Lorca-Lloyd's highlights below. 

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