Chris Holtmann began Ohio State's 2021 recruiting class by heading to Northwest and Northeast Ohio, landing Kalen Etzler and Meechie Johnson.
To kick off the 2022 class, the Buckeyes traveled to Southwest Ohio.
Bowen Hardman, a shooting guard from Cincinnati, committed to play for the Buckeyes on Wednesday. He chose to continue his career in Columbus over offers from Cincinnati, Xavier and Ohio.
As of now, he's listed as a three-star, 6-foot-3, 160-pound prospect by both 247Sports and Rivals. Neither national recruiting service has ranked him either nationally or among Ohio prospects.
The Hardman File
- Class: 2022
- Size: 6-foot-3, 160 pounds
- Pos: SG
- School: Princeton
- Composite Rating: ★★★
- Composite Rank: N/A
A sweet-shooting guard who plays for Princeton High School, Hardman is viewed as one of the top in-state prospects in the 2022 cycle. Along with Western Reserve Academy's guard Chris Livingston, Richmond Heights forward Josiah Harris and Dayton Belmont center Shawn Phillips, he's one of four Ohioans in his class who currently hold publicly known scholarship offers. The 2022 in-state crop of talent is widely viewed as the best group to come through Ohio in many years.
Hardman is Ohio State's first commitment in the 2022 class. Only one other Big Ten program – Penn State, with Sonny Johnson Jr. of Garfield Heights – holds a pledge in the cycle. Assistant coach Jake Diebler has been his primary recruiter.
He has taken multiple visits to Ohio State, with his first coming in early August before an unofficial trip with Harris in early September. He picked up his offer from Holtmann and his staff while visiting Oct. 5. Hardman was back in Columbus the next month to watch the season opener against Cincinnati at the Schottenstein Center.
“They said they trust my game, and I kind of loved it that they said that,” Hardman told Eleven Warriors last year. “It's like, 'We want to have a relationship out of basketball with you.' They want to know what character I was, how I treat my family, what I do in my spare time. Every college coach is going to be about your skillset, can you play, can we trust you in the final minutes. And I think that's a big part, just getting to know that player like, 'Can this guy be in the game in the last five seconds and hit a shot.' I think that's a big thing.
“I love the way coach Holtmann put things in perspective and was like, 'We love you, you're a great kid. You have a great family and great people behind you. But we want to still kind of get to know you a little bit more and not just basketball-wise.'”
Playing for Princeton as a sophomore, Hardman averaged 11.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game. Widely known and largely pursued by colleges due to his ability as a knock-down shooter, he hit 46.4 percent of his shots from the field, 39.5 percent of his 3-pointers and 92 percent of his free throws.
In a couple of years, he'll take that shooting stroke to Columbus.