NEW YORK - Entering the 2017-18 basketball season, Ohio State has had to piece together its roster with a number of transfers, walk-ons and even early enrollees.
C.J. Jackson is the only player on Ohio State's roster that has experience playing the point guard position in a scarlet and gray uniform, which has put pressure on senior forward Jae'Sean Tate to learn the position to add depth in the backcourt.
First-year Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann said Thursday at Big Ten Media Day that Tate, who has made a living in his time as a Buckeye in the post, will be playing more on the perimeter this season for the Scarlet and Gray.
"We're obviously really thin in the backcourt. I think C.J. has done some really good things in practice," Holtmann said. "Jae'Sean, he's been learning what we expect from that position. He's never played it before. He's going to need to play it this year and he's going to need to play it effectively for us. I think he'll slide more on the perimeter than he has maybe at any point in his career."
Part of the reason Ohio State is able to move Tate is because of its depth in the post. The Buckeyes welcome a pair of four-star forwards in Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson, and also return sophomore Micah Potter.
In preparing to handle the ball more this season, Tate is not only putting in extra work on the court, but in the film room as well. In addition to watching himself, he is watching film of other forwards, or non-traditional guards, handling the ball.
One player he said he is watching more than most is former Michigan State and current Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green. Like Green, Tate said he isn't expected to be a traditional point guard.
"They are not really looking for me to be a complete floor general, but be somebody who can bring the ball up and make the easy play instead of making too difficult decisions," Tate said. "Just being able to get C.J. a break when he needs it. I just have to be a capable person to bring the ball up and set our offense up."
The transition to playing on the perimeter won't be completely foreign to Tate. The Pickerington, Ohio native has made 22 three-pointers in the last two seasons and was third on the team in assists in 2016-17 with 64.
According to Tate, the hardest thing to adjust to in his transition has been the pace of play needed at the guard position.
"It is definitely a big change from the forward position, because there is a lot more responsibility," Tate said. "Going at different paces and being more confident with the ball. Playing the point guard, you have to know spacing and be able to set the table, but also make sure everybody around me is set too."
In addition to Tate, Holtmann said Michigan transfer Andrew Dakich will help the Buckeyes at the point guard spot as well, giving Ohio State three options at the one-guard.
With the season less than a month away, Tate said he is still developing, but confident he will be successful in his new role.
"I am not saying that I'm there yet, but I have improved since I have started," he said.