Basketball Recruiting Notebook: OSU Makes Top Schools Lists For 2024 Targets Tyler McKinley, Amier Ali And Jonathan Powell, Offers Rising Talents in 2025 and 2026 Classes

By Griffin Strom on May 17, 2023 at 8:35 am
Tyler McKinley, Amier Ali
Instagram/@txm35, @simofafan

Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting cycle is in the books.

The Buckeyes added the final piece to their 2023-24 roster when former Penn State forward Evan Mahaffey committed to the program on May 3, giving Ohio State three transfer portal additions to go along with four incoming high school recruits. And if any fans were still holding out hope that Bronny James could be a last-minute add-on, the five-star prospect put that to bed by committing to USC on May 6.

That means as far as recruiting efforts for Chris Holtmann and company, all sights are set on 2024 and beyond. 

Ohio State only has one commit in its 2024 class thus far: Bishop Gorman’s Juni Mobley, a Columbus native and top-50 overall prospect in the cycle, gave the Buckeyes a rock-solid prospect to build around when he announced his commitment to the program back in October. The four-star combo guard is the 44th-rated player in the country and the sixth-ranked recruit at his position, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

After signing nine high school recruits in 2022 and 2023, Ohio State isn’t looking to bring a similarly large haul into the fold in 2024. Still, the Buckeyes are likely to add at least one more prospect to the mix, and they happen to have landed on several recent top schools lists from priority targets in the class. 

Below, we take a closer look at three heralded 2024 recruits that are considering Ohio State, as well as three other prospects in the 2025 and 2026 classes that received offers from the Buckeyes within the past month.

OSU makes McKinley’s top seven

Most recently, Ohio State was listed among the top seven schools for four-star Cincinnati native and No. 60 overall prospect Tyler McKinley on Monday. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound big man began his high school career at Cincinnati’s Walnut Hills, but transferred to Branson, Missouri’s Link Academy this past August and has subsequently become the second-rated player in the state.

McKinley dominated on the EYBL circuit while playing for the All-Ohio Red AAU team in the spring of 2022, which helped him earn a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes on June 15. Along with Ohio State, McKinley is also considering Alabama, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Tennessee, Virginia Tech and Xavier.

Thus far, McKinley has only taken an official visit to Cincinnati, but told 247Sports he intends to take official visits to both Ohio State and Virginia Tech as well. McKinley has previously taken unofficial visits at Ohio State and Xavier.

A center at the high school level, the prolific-scoring big man could be a versatile power forward in college.

Powell puts Buckeyes in top six

Another four-star prospect and Ohio native, Jonathan Powell included the Buckeyes on a recent top schools list that also features Clemson, Indiana, Michigan State, Virginia Tech and Xavier.

The Centerville High School product out of Dayton is listed at 6-foot-6, 170 pounds and is considered the No. 98 overall prospect in the country, the 18th-best shooting guard and the second-best recruit in Ohio, per the 247Sports composite rankings.

Powell earned a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes in May of 2022 and transferred to Centerville from Dayton’s Chaminade Julienne shortly thereafter. During his junior year, Powell led the Elks with an average of 16.7 points per game and was named first-team All-Ohio for his efforts.

Powell has taken unofficial visits to Indiana, Ohio State, Xavier and Michigan State, and scheduled his first official visit to Xavier on May 28. Powell told On3 he plans to make a commitment decision sometime in June.

Should Powell choose Ohio State, he and Mobley would form a stellar backcourt duo in the 2024 class, although the Buckeyes have stockpiled several highly-touted guards in the past couple of cycles with players like Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle and Taison Chatman.

OSU among eight schools for Ali

The top-rated 2024 prospect to include Ohio State in a recent top schools list is four-star wing Amier Ali, the 43rd-ranked player and 13th-rated small forward in his class, per the 247Sports composite rankings.

A recruit with multi-positional potential at 6-foot-8, 175 pounds, Ali announced on April 24 that he is considering Ohio State alongside Kentucky, Texas, Arizona State, Florida State, Michigan, Alabama and Arkansas.

While Ali’s recruitment is likely to be hotly contested, he has strong ties to Central Ohio, having grown up in Gahanna, Ohio, after being born in Philadelphia. Ali has moved around multiple times since then, though, having played his first season of high school basketball before moving to Florida. Ali played at Montverde Academy as a sophomore but transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, for his junior year in 2022-23.

Ali earned an Ohio State offer back on April 11, 2022, and just took an official visit to the Columbus campus on May 6. Ali had previously taken an official visit to Florida State in February and went on an unofficial visit to Texas last June.

Buckeyes offer in-state 2025 PF Bundalo

Uniontown, Ohio’s Nikola Bundalo has made waves on the AAU circuit this spring, and Ohio State was among the first high-major programs to take notice.

The Buckeyes rewarded the 6-foot-9 Serbian power forward with a scholarship offer on May 2, and the left-handed 2025 prospect then earned offers from Rutgers, Illinois, Iowa, Xavier and Seton Hall.

Bundalo attends Green High School just south of Akron, Ohio, and the Buckeyes are sure to keep an eye on the rising in-state talent throughout his recruitment. Assuming his stock continues to rise, though, Bundalo should receive plenty more high-major offers in the coming months.

OSU extends early offer to five-star 2026 guard

The Buckeyes’ first known scholarship offer in the 2026 class went to a Garfield Heights product who is still just a freshman in high school. Marcus Johnson, the cousin of former Buckeye guard Meechie Johnson, impressed the Ohio State coaching staff enough to earn an offer on May 1 as the heralded Ohio native continued to impress on the AAU circuit.

Ohio State is far from the first school to offer the 6-foot-1, 175-pound guard, though. Ranked as a five-star prospect and the No. 16 overall player in the 2026 class by ESPN, Johnson had previously earned offers from Alabama, West Virginia, Cincinnati, Arizona State and Georgia Tech, with LSU extending an offer just two days after the Buckeyes.

But as an in-state prospect with familial ties to the program, Ohio State could have an early advantage in what figures to be a national recruiting battle for one of the best players in the country.

Buckeyes offer Cleveland's Crumble

Johnson isn’t the only five-star freshman prospect to earn an Ohio State offer in the past few weeks.

Ranked just two spots below Johnson as the No. 18 player on ESPN’s list of the 25 top recruits in the 2026 class, Cleveland’s T.J. Crumble out of Lutheran East is firmly on the Buckeyes’ radar as well. Listed at 6-foot-7, 205 pounds, Crumble projects as a forward at the next level following several more years of development in high school.

A standout on the All-Ohio Sumner AAU team during the EYBL circuit, Crumble also earned an offer from Illinois on Monday, and more offers will continue to rain in as he shows off his skill set in front of collegiate coaching staffs moving forward.

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