Ahead of Ohio State's season opener Monday night, five-star 2024 center Jayden Quaintance – who reclassified from the 2025 class – included the Buckeyes in his final four schools along with Kentucky, Florida and Missouri.
NEWS: 2024 Top-10 prospect Jayden Quaintance is down to four schools and will no longer consider the G-League Ignite pathway, per his coach.— Joe Tipton (@TiptonEdits) November 6, 2023
The 16-year-old must complete two years of college before being NBA Draft eligible in 2026.
Story: https://t.co/Qvh1plGEY0 pic.twitter.com/yCM4egK7cO
Quaintance is no longer considering signing with the G League Ignite instead of attending college, though the top-10 overall prospect has no timetable for a college decision yet. Given that he is only 16 years old, the Word of God Christian Acadamy (Raleigh, North Carolina) product will need to play two years of college basketball (instead of the usual one year) before becoming eligible for the 2026 NBA Draft.
A Cleveland native, Quaintance attended Hawken School in Gates Mills, Ohio, before playing two high school seasons in Arizona and then transferring to his current school in North Carolina. Quaintance's Ohio roots could play a factor in the center's upcoming college decision, as his dad told The Columbus Dispatch's Adam Jardy that Ohio State is a "serious contender" for the 6-foot-9, 230-pounder.
“It obviously helps that he would be close to his family, but it’s not the end-all, be-all,” Quaintance's dad, Haminn – who played basketball at Kent State – told The Columbus Dispatch's Adam Jardy. “They’re going to have to recruit him as hard as all the other schools and they’re going to have to fit. It’s going to have to be a fit. I couldn’t put him in a bad situation based off of the location. We showed that we definitely don’t care about location when we went to Arizona.
“We did a Zoom with (OSU),” he said. “We saw their system. They have draft picks every year with coach (Chris) Holtmann. It’s not just about being in Ohio, it’s about basketball and what they have to offer – and Ohio State has a lot to offer from the basketball side.”
The Buckeyes offered Quaintance in mid-May and have been making up for lost time since then given that OSU only began recruiting the five-star big man, who is ranked as the No. 2 center and No. 7 overall prospect in 247Sports’ composite ranking for the 2024 class, after he reclassified.
“It did change the way some people recruited us,” his dad said. “(Kentucky coach John) Calipari was really happy we were reclassing up. Ohio State, they were happy that we were reclassing up. We really ain’t do it for the schools, we’re just looking for the best situation so the schools that are recruiting us are the ones we evaluate, along with the G League Ignite.
“To (OSU's) credit, once they started they really started,” he said. “We weren’t in Ohio, so I don’t know if everybody knew that Jayden is an Ohio kid.”
Quaintance visited Ohio State for its football game against Youngstown State on Sept. 9, one that seemingly went well given the Ohio native's continued interest in the Buckeyes.
He discussed the potential of joining his home-state Buckeyes with On3's Joe Tipton.
“It’s close to home. The energy from the community is there,” Quaintance said. “They’ve been recruiting me pretty hard, showing a lot of interest in me. That’s cool to get from the hometown school. Going on my official, I didn’t really learn anything new about the school. We went through their defensive play for me, which is something I didn’t really know before. They laid out an entire plan for me defensively for how they were looking to develop me. That did impress me.”
With combo guard Juni Mobley (No. 46 overall) and forward Colin White (No. 168 overall) already in Ohio State's 2024 recruiting class, an elite talent like Quaintance would be a great addition to close out the recruiting cycle for Chris Holtmann’s Buckeyes.