There has been a lot of change in the Ohio State basketball program since Chris Holtmann was hired as head coach a little over a month ago.
“Everything is different,” sophomore center Micah Potter said recently.
That can certainly be a scary situation for a program. Switching things up this late in an offseason — Holtmann was hired in early June — has obvious risks. This is especially true when a program was run the same way for 13 years under Thad Matta.
However, the current Buckeyes on the roster said things under Holtmann, though different, have been great through the first month-plus. It was a welcomed change.
“It’s kind of weird just the whole vibe the program has already is light years ahead of what it was,” Potter said. “Like I said, we hated to see Coach Matta go and we loved him to death, loved all the rest of the coaching staff to death but the change happened and then Coach Holt has won us over already and so has the rest of the coaching staff. All the guys are comfortable, we all get along really well and everyone’s happy, having fun.”
“We’re all bought in, 10 toes in, and it feels really good.”
That wasn’t the first time the “10 toes in” phrase was used by an Ohio State player this summer, though. In a press conference one week prior to Potter’s, fifth-year senior guard Kam Williams made a similar statement.
“The way the core guys who are 10 toes in, we know where we finished and we aren’t happy with that at all,” Williams said. “And even with the coaching change, we were still getting it in on our own because we obviously know what each guy is capable of and we obviously know we haven’t been playing to the best of our ability. We know that 100 percent so we tried to get in the gym as much as possible because we don’t like the feeling we’ve had these last couple years.”
Back-to-back unsuccessful seasons on the court coupled with two-straight rough offseasons ultimately ended the Matta era of Ohio State basketball — arguably the best run in program history. It was a time of uncertainty and, to an extent, chaos.
Since then, however, things calmed down a bit.
“The transition has been easy, honestly,” Potter said. “Obviously at the start, it was kind of crazy just with how quick everything happened, but other than that it’s been really good.”
Holtmann and his staff have changed quite a few things. Ohio State hired a new strength and conditioning coach and the team has a nutritionist for the first time. Potter also said little things like the locker room and signs on the door have all been altered.
It’s a totally fresh start for the holdovers from the Matta era and all signs right now point toward it being overwhelmingly positive.
As a result, everybody is 10 toes in.
“It’s just like a totally different dynamic,” Williams said. “We’re still trying to feel each other out with what each side likes and doesn’t like and I think it’s been pretty good. There’s a lot of good cohesiveness so I’m excited to just get practice and everything else rolling.”