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Lately, Dallan “Deebo” Coleman hasn’t exactly had a busy schedule. In a normal year, he’d be traveling the country on the grassroots circuit, showcasing himself against some of the nation’s best high school players.
Instead? It’s just basketball and the beach right now for the Florida resident who hails from Memphis. Well, and extensive time put into talking with college coaches.
Ohio State became the latest program to extend a scholarship offer last week. Chris Holtmann pulled the trigger on Wednesday, joining the dozen other schools after Coleman, a four-star shooting guard. He’s ranked as the No. 48 overall prospect and 10th-best shooting guard in the 2021 recruiting cycle.
“They felt like I can come in and have an impact from the start,” Coleman told Eleven Warriors. “They feel like that I'm an impact guard.”
Ever since landing early commitments from power forward Kalen Etzler and combo guard Meechie Johnson, the Buckeyes have been chasing a shooting guard with ball-handling capabilities and a standout big man to round of the 2021 class. Potentially, Coleman could fill the hole in the backcourt.
“I would say my ability to shoot the ball is (good),” Coleman said. “Me being able to facilitate, being a big guard, maybe handle the ball. I'm very versatile. Good on-ball defender.”
Since the 6-foot-6, 195-pounder hasn’t visited campus yet and admittedly doesn’t know much other than it’s “one of the top schools in their conference” and has a connection with Lebron James, Ohio State can’t be viewed as anything but an underdog, playing catch-up to Memphis, Mississippi, Louisville, Georgia Tech and others. But Coleman said he has been talking to assistant coach Ryan Pedon for multiple months and has begun to get to know Holtmann in the past few weeks.
This upcoming week, Coleman said, Pedon plans to set up a virtual visit on Zoom so he can get a better understanding of Ohio State.
“It means a lot, especially from a staff with him saying they don't offer a lot of people,” Coleman said. “Especially because they haven't offered a lot of people in my class.”
In the past four months, as Coleman noted, the Buckeyes have only offered scholarships to four 2021 prospects who might be able to fill the backcourt opening in the class. They’re after a few others, including St. Vincent-St. Mary four-star guard Malaki Branham, but the list of targets isn’t overly long.
At Ohio State, Coleman envisions he could serve as a combo guard, able to impact games with his standout shooting ability while also being able to facilitate.
Right now, Coleman isn’t able to take in-person recruiting visits anywhere. They’ve been barred since March and remain against the rules until at least July 31. At some point, though, Coleman said he hopes to take a visit to Columbus to see Ohio State.
Eventually, how will Coleman gauge which school to attend? Let him explain.
“For one, our relationship with the coaches, and two, how big are they on player development,” Coleman said. “How can they prepare me for the next level and make me a better player. And then lastly, just having a system that I'm used to, that I can run. And then coming in, how many minutes would I play, effective minutes.”
New 2021, 2022 Offers
Coleman wasn’t the only prospect to pick up an offer in the past few weeks.
Fellow 2021 guard Jalen Warley also earned an Ohio State offer last week. The decision to extend an offer to the 6-foot-4, 175-pound combo guard comes at an interesting time since he’s reportedly set to cut his list of schools at some point in the next week. As the Buckeyes try to wedge their way into his recruitment, they’re competing against a long list of suitors, including Michigan, Louisville, Maryland, Xavier and Virginia. Warley is the No. 27 overall prospect and third-ranked combo guard in the cycle.
Interestingly, Warley also attends the same high school – Westtown School in Pennsylvania – as 2021 four-star center target Franck Kepnang, along with another recent Ohio State offer recipient.
Dereck Lively, who also goes to Westtown School, picked up an Ohio State offer a few weeks ago.
The rising 6-foot-11, 200-pound center is only the second 2022 big man to pick up an offer from Holtmann’s staff, joining Dayton Belmont’s Shawn Phillips. Lively holds a multitude of offers from Miami, UCLA, Xavier, Providence and others. He’s the No. 40 overall recruit and fourth-ranked center in the cycle.
Fellow 2022 prospect Skyy Clark also landed an Ohio State offer in May. Aptly named, the Buckeyes are shooting for the sky with Skyy. Yes, I hated myself for writing that, too. But I couldn’t pass it up. Sorry. Never again.
Clark is a five-star guard ranked as the No. 18 overall prospect and No. 1 combo guard in the 2022 cycle. Naturally, he’s picked up a host of offers, including from Memphis, Indiana, Michigan, Arizona and UCLA. Kentucky’s also hovering around his recruitment. In a recent blog on Sports Illustrated, Clark listed Ohio State as one of the seven schools keeping in contact with him the most.
Interestingly, Clark recently transferred to Tennessee’s Brentwood Academy. A few years ago while working at Vanderbilt, assistant coach Jake Diebler helped land Darius Garland – who was also a five-star guard – out of Brentwood Academy.
Could he pull another heist off, this time at Ohio State? Maybe. But calling this recruitment difficult would be an understatement.
Hello, class of 2023
Every time Ohio State makes its first offer in a recruiting cycle, I typically feel older than ever, and I imagine I’m not alone. This was no exception.
I graduated from high school in 2013, and the Buckeyes just extended their first 2023 offer. Does that officially make me old? I think it does.
Nevertheless, the offer recipient was Cameron Christie, a 6-foot-3 guard from Rolling Meadows, Illinois. The Illinois Wolves, his Under Armour Association team that once produced Evan Turner, announced the scholarship on Wednesday evening. Ohio State joined Michigan State as the second team to extend an offer to Christie, with both coming in the past two weeks.
Perhaps most notably, Christie’s the younger brother of five-star 2021 guard Max Christie, whom Ohio State is chasing. Generally, the Buckeyes are regarded as the underdog for Christie, but that hasn’t stopped them from going after him. They’re competing with Duke, Michigan State, Northwestern and Illinois, among others.
Keepin’ In Contact
A slew of reported virtual visits has taken place with Ohio State touching base with 2021 prospects in the past few weeks. Essentially they’ve all been with top combo guard and big man targets.
- Four-star center Franck Kepnang, per Andrew Slater
- Five-star shooting guard Max Christie, per Stockrisers’ Jake Weingarten
- Five-star center Charles Bediako, per Adam Zagoria
- Four-star center Micawber Etienne, per Weingarten
Also of note, four-star power forward Mason Miller named Ohio State as one of his three current frontrunners a couple of weeks ago, along with Indiana and Creighton. Right now, Miller doesn’t hold offers from either the Buckeyes or Hoosiers. He’s the son of Mike Miller, whose tenure as an assistant coach at Memphis came to an end last week.
Rivals Rankings Updates
On the surface, it might not quite seem logical why anybody’s updating recruiting rankings right now. But behind the scenes, analysts are catching up on high school film the same way college coaches are, which led to Rivals dropping new 2020, 2021 and 2022 rankings this past week.
Here’s where Ohio State’s two signees and three commitments currently rank, per Rivals:
- Eugene Brown III (2020): No. 98 overall, No. 22 shooting guard
- Zed Key (2020): No. 111 overall, No. 21 power forward
- Kalen Etzler (2021): No. 115 overall, No. 21 power forward
- Meechie Johnson (2021): No. 125 overall, No. 25 point guard
- Bowen Hardman (2022): No. 135 overall
Because of the in-person recruiting shutdown that has extended from March until July 31, at the earliest, it’s as hard as ever before to accurately rank the 2021 and 2022 prospects. If there’s a fall evaluation period, which 247Sports’ Evan Daniels reported could happen, then there will likely be quite a bit of movement in the rankings.
Johnson, who’s fully recovered from an ACL tear, will have the most to gain once he can get back onto the court.
Back To Campus
The trickle of players back to campus has begun at schools throughout the country, including in Columbus.
On June 15, the Ohio State basketball program will be allowed to begin voluntary workouts, which has certain Buckeyes packing up to get back to campus. Since Holtmann’s staff won’t be able to mandate attendance, players aren’t all getting to Columbus at the same time. For example, Eugene Brown III will move on June 13, Jimmy Sotos will follow suit on June 15 and Abel Porter will make his trip from Utah at a yet-to-be-determined date in late June.
The first steps toward a basketball season this winter are in motion.
Photo of Coleman courtesy of 247Sports