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Charles Bediako and Keon Ambrose-Hylton Check Out Columbus
A few weeks ago, Ohio State assistant coach Ryan Pedon headed up Interstate 71 to check out a practice at the International Sports Academy at Andrews Osborne, a school in Willoughby. Two players caught his attention: four-star 2020 forward Keon Ambrose-Hylton and unranked 2021 forward Charles Bediako, both of whom are native Canadians from the Toronto area who moved to the United State in recent years.
Neither played had any prior contact with Ohio State’s coaching staff. When Pedon came back about a week-and-a-half ago, he invited Ambrose-Hylton and Bediako on an unofficial visit. So, on Saturday, both players and and two of their high-school coaches woke up at 5 a.m. and headed down to Columbus to check out the campus, get acclimated with the coaches and get a feel for the basketball facility.
They started their visit at 8 a.m. with a ride on a golf cart through campus before heading back to the Schottenstein Center for a tour of basketball facilities. The locker room and lounge area for players impressed both of them. Ambrose-Hylton and Bediako then headed to a tailgate before heading to Ohio Stadium to take in the Buckeyes’ football game against Nebraska.
“We saw the intro with the football team running out the tunnel,” Ambrose-Hylton said. “We saw the jets fly past. It was crazy loud. Very exciting. We stayed there until halftime, then we left and we walked around the arena thoroughly to see the main basketball court. We saw all their awards, saw the locker room. It was a really good experience.”
Prior to the football game, Ambrose-Hylton and Bediako met with Chris Holtmann. The conversation with Holtmann stuck out to Ambrose-Hylton, who said the head coach told him about how the program has mentors and tutors for general life experiences.
Holtmann also discussed how he'd fit into the team. Ambrose-Hylton, a 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward who is the No. 83 overall prospect in the country, said he can enough to play the ‘two’ through ‘five’ on the court. He’s the latest tall, athletic, lanky forward to accrue interest from Holtmann’s staff.
“(Holtmann) told me a lot about my role and how my play, my play style, how it's really important to them. How I'm lanky but I'm also able to play a wing spot and how he really likes how I play more of a guard,” Ambrose-Hylton said. “Even though I'm 6-foot-8, I play in a guard, play on the wing, how they really need that, my play style on their team.”
Ohio State has not offered Ambrose-Hylton a scholarship, but he has picked up offers from a few other schools scattered throughout the country. Florida, Tulane, Howard, Tulsa and Dayton have offered him scholarships. He’s not close to deciding where to play and said “this is definitely the beginning” of the recruiting process.
Ambrose-Hylton’s visit to Ohio State allowed him to check out another school, this one just down the road from his high school.
“They're one of the best campuses in the nation, so seeing them will make it a lot harder to choose around the other offers that I have,” Ambrose-Hylton said.
Ambrose-Hylton said the most important factors in determining which school he will attend include his role on teams, the coaches and leadership of teams. However, he’s also paying attention to anatomy classes offered by universities.
“I want to work with the human body and hope to be a physiotherapist, so then if basketball doesn't work out for me, I can still be around the sport and still go to the NBA, even if it's not playing basketball, but mostly helping players,” Ambrose-Hylton said.
Since he’s in a class below Ambrose-Hylton, Bediako doesn’t have any offers right now. He described himself as being at the beginning of his recruitment, but the recruiting process isn’t new to him. His brother, Jaden, is in the 2019 class and will pick a school next month.
Bediako used to get jealous of his older brother, who got countless phone calls from college coaches. His brother told him, “Don't worry, you'll get your time.” That time is finally just beginning.
“Having this Ohio State (visit), I feel like it's starting to come,” Bediako said. “After that visit, I just feel really motivated.”
A 6-foot-11, 210-pound forward, Bediako began playing basketball just a few years ago. He grew up as a soccer player in Canada, but eventually took up basketball in seventh grade due to his brother’s success in the sport. He said he was “pretty raw” to begin and had “no skill” from the outside.
He still has much to learn, but Bediako has a go-to hook shot in the post and thrives when protecting the rim.
“It's still more a face-up,” Bediako said. “I'm also trying to work on my back-to-the-basket moves. I'm more of a defensive guy, I would say. That's where my best comes from.”
He said college coaches have told him he has a similar game to Kevin Garnett and Mo Bama, a pair of 7-footers who can stretch the defense and defend the rim. Bediako has watched film of Garnett, Nerlens Noel and Anthony Davis in the past.
Ohio State, along with other colleges, have told him he could be a stretch four at the college level.
“They do have big, strong men, but they don't have a big man, like a four that's versatile and as athletic as me,” Bediako said. “So, that's one reason why they're recruiting me. The coaching staff is pretty nice. I got to meet the head coach. He's a very nice guy. He was just telling me and Keon what they do at Ohio State, how people said they loved it a lot.”
Bediako does not have any scholarship offers right now, but that’s likely to change in the not-too-distant future for the Canada U-18 National Team forward.
“Ohio State, I think that's probably the first university that I feel like they really want me, are very interested in me,” Bediako said.
Max Christie picks up offer
Ohio State hosted five-star 2021 wing Max Christie this weekend, and he left Columbus with a scholarship offer.
ILLWolves 2021 6’5 Max Christie Rolling Meadows receives scholarship offer from Ohio St HC Chhris Holtman— Illinois Wolves (@WolvesILL) November 3, 2018
A 6-foot-6, 165-pound Rolling Meadows, Illinois, native, Christie visited the university on Saturday and took in the football game against Nebraska on Saturday. He is the No. 25 overall prospect in his class, the fifth-ranked shooting guard and the top player in his state. He holds offers from a bunch of Big Ten programs, including Wisconsin, Illinois, Purdue and Iowa, along with a number of other programs.
Ohio State does not have any commitments in either the 2020 or 2021 classes and has recently begun to increase its push for 2021 prospects. Christie joins forward Caleb Furst and guards Meechie Johnson and Khristian Lander as players in the class with offers.
Walker Kessler offered
In-state center Zach Loveday remains a priority target, but that didn’t stop Holtmann’s staff from offering a scholarship to Walker Kessler, a five-star 7-foot center.
Woodward Academy’s 7’0 2020 PF/C Walker Kessler has received an offer from Ohio State University!— EPI Training (@ElitePInstitute) November 6, 2018
A Fairburn, Georgia, resident, Kessler is the 17th-ranked prospect in the nation and the third-ranked center. Holtmann has seen Kessler play in person, and Ohio State coaches saw him play multiple times in October.
A couple more visits
Ambrose-Hylton, Bediako and Christie weren’t the only prospects on campus. In the last weekend before the basketball season begins, Ohio State hosted a few other players for visits.
Bryce Hopkins, a 2021 prospect from Oak Hill, Illinois, made the trek to Columbus for the weekend. He’s a 6-foot-5, 180-pound small forward. Hopkins is unranked, like most players in his class, but has an offer from Nebraska. Ohio State has not offered him a scholarship.
Josh Irwin, an in-state 2021 target from West Geauga, visited Ohio State for the second time and the first time this year. Irwin does not hold an offer from the Buckeyes, and he got his first scholarship offer in August from Bowling Green.
Josh Irwin, a 6’5 sophomore forward from West Geauga, was on an unofficial visit to Ohio State today. It was Irwin’s second time at OSU after last year’s visit for a basketball game. @PrepHoopsOH @JeffJavorek @tNBA_CLE pic.twitter.com/bSLNThMd24— Anthony Garcia (@nthonyCgarcia) November 3, 2018
Late add for Ohio State this season?
The transfer of Micah Potter led to some people wondering whether Ohio State would consider adding a transfer or freshman to the team this season. Disregarding the many issues that would come with bringing in a player less than 48 hours before the season begins on Wednesday, it’s important to note that the Buckeyes aren’t even able to make that type of addition.
As of Monday night, Potter was still enrolled at Ohio State, and while he’s enrolled, he counts against the program’s scholarship count of 13.
Now, will Ohio State either add a fourth high schooler to its 2019 class or add a transfer like it did with C.J. Walker and Keyshawn Woods? That’s a more interesting question. A scholarship for next season’s team is now open, and it would behove the Buckeyes to use it.
Gaffney’s first impression at Brewster Academy
Four-star forward Alonzo Gaffney, who committed to Ohio State in April, opted to transfer from Garfield Heights to Brewster Academy, a high-profile prep school in New Hampshire, for his senior year of high school. So far, it’s hard to imagine he regrets his decision at all.
Playing on a team that includes Terrence Clarke (No. 1 overall prospect in 2021), Kai Jones (No. 53 overall prospect in 2019), Jalen Lecque (No. 29 overall prospect in 2019) and others, Gaffney stood out so much during this weekend’s Caribbean Tip-Off Classic in the Bahamas that he was named Most Outstanding Player.
Gaffney also caught the attention of Jonathan Givony of Draft Express on ESPN. Givony said it’s “tough to find guys with his tools.”
Ohio State commit Alonzo Gaffney also had an impressive outing with 19 points (on just 11 shots), 13 rebounds, 5 assists. Most physical I've seen him play. He saw a lot of time at the 5 in small-ball lineups which he can do w/his 7'4 wingspan. Tough to find guys with his tools.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) November 4, 2018
Carton drops highlights
With the Bettendorf (Iowa) High School basketball season beginning soon, Ohio State commit DJ Carton dropped a short cut-up of highlights.
The left point guard shows off plenty of hops to go along with a deep jump shot. He’s the No. 24 overall prospect in the 2019 class and the second-best point guard. With C.J. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods running out of eligibility after this season, he will have a large role in the 2019-20 season.