11W Basketball Mailbag: Jae'Sean Tate's Role at Point Guard, Season Predictions and More

By James Grega on December 8, 2017 at 1:15 pm
Jae'Sean Tate

We are just about a third of the way through the 2017-18 basketball season, and Chris Holtmann's first Buckeye squad is 7-3 (2-0 Big Ten) through 10 games. 

Ohio State has experimented with a variety of new lineups so far this season, which has seen two freshmen earn starts along with extended playing time for fellow freshman Kyle Young. 

With Ohio State coming out of a brutal six-game stretch with a 3-3 record, we thought it would be a good time to answer some of your questions concerning the basketball Buckeyes as they head into the homestretch of their non-conference schedule before returning to Big Ten play next month.

Do you think winning with Jae'Sean Tate starting at point guard is sustainable throughout Big Ten play? - OSU069

Not for extended minutes, but for 10-15 minutes per game; yes, I think it is sustainable. Tate has had a few turnover problems of his own to start the season, but I think for now he is a better option to start than C.J. Jackson, simply because he isn't as likely to start Ohio State in a hole. Jackson has a tendency to want to make the home run pass, which often leads to breakaway layups for the opposition.

Any thoughts on Kaleb Wesson and Kyle Young filling in for Micah Potter the next few games? Any shakeups possible inside? - Hovenaut

I think Wesson has done a phenomenal job filling in for Potter in the post. His play on Moritz Wagner of Michigan was really impressive and I love Wesson's offensive game, especially with his back to the basket. Kyle Young has also become more and more comfortable as each game goes on. This injury to Potter may end up being a blessing in disguise for the two freshman forwards. The more meaningful time they get, the better they will be down the stretch this season. 

Potter's out indefinitely.  Any word on when he might be back? - Toad1204

I would imagine Ohio State holds him out for another week or so. If I had to guess, he won't play until the North Carolina game, or perhaps the game before if he is ready. Until then, it is beneficial for him to get healthy and for the younger guys to play. 

This team is extremely hot and cold, as you saw in the Gonzaga and Clemson games and even in the Michigan game. What do you think are the reasons for this? - Labuck

This group is still getting to know one another. It is that simple. Musa Jallow missed summer workouts because of his class transfer and Andre Wesson missed a good portion of the summer because of health concerns. Add that in with Kyle Young missing time due to a tonsillectomy and now Potter being hurt, this squad hasn't had enough time to work together. Once they do, though, I like where Holtmann has this team heading. 

With the Potter injury, this team has been playing small ball for extended minutes, with Keita Bates-Diop playing the 5 on defense. Is this something they will be able to still do against other Big Ten opponents? - BPOSU

They have done it at times against Wisconsin and Michigan and had success, so yes, it is sustainable against certain Big Ten opponents. The good news for Ohio State is that Potter should be back for the Big Ten stretch run, so it's probably something the Buckeyes won't have to worry about too much. However, if Holtmann wants to get up and down the floor, it is a good lineup and option to have in your back pocket. 

Who has been the most surprising player for you this season? Jallow, K. Wesson, KBD (reaching potential), C.J. (hitting 3s) or what? - IronPastor

For me, Kaleb Wesson's comfortability with the college game has been extremely impressive. Most freshmen have a learning curve where it takes them a few games or even a season to get acclimated, but Wesson has jumped right in and been solid from the start. When Ohio State struggles to find openings in a defense, the Buckeyes can always dump it down low and let Wesson work on the low block and they will usually end up with a high-percentage look. I love his game and I think he is going to be a very good player for Ohio State for a few years. 

Why is Andrew Dakich not shooting the ball when he's wide open to do so? - Icouldnotgofor3

Simply because that is not his role. His role is to come in for 10-15 minutes per game to give Jackson a blow or to get the Ohio State offense set and moving. He didn't come to Columbus to score. The good news for the Buckeyes is he knows his role, seems comfortable in it and for the most part, has done a good job executing. 

Looking down the road 2-3 years, will Holtmann keep top-tier talent from leaving the state? - MDBuckeye2002

The thing people have to understand is that no matter how good a coach is at recruiting in-state talent, if North Carolina or Duke come calling, an Ohio kid isn't likely to turn them down. Just the same as in football, if a Texas kid is offered by Ohio State or Texas Tech, he is probably going to be a Buckeye. 

Holtmann will get his fair share of Ohio kids, but he is also going to miss on a few that get premier offers, just like Jeremiah Francis and North Carolina. 

Which B1G team is the barometer for the Buckeyes right now? MSU is on a different level right now. Wisconsin? Michigan? Indiana? Honestly I’m not sure. - Ohio Guy In Jersey

Like you said, the top of the list is Michigan State followed by Minnesota and Purdue. After that, the Big Ten race is pretty wide open. Indiana has looked up-and-down this year, and Wisconsin appears to be on a down year. I think the Wolverines will be a solid team in the conference this year, as will Maryland. Overall, if the Buckeyes can steal some conference games on the road and win the games they should at home, I think there is a decent chance Ohio State could finish in the top-seven in the conference. 

Any recruits in any class to watch for? - Zdog4307

Ohio State is still going to push hard for 2019 Garfield Heights product Alonzo Gaffney, but the Cleveland native is more likely to head to a college basketball blue-blood in my opinion. Gahanna Lincoln product Jordan Mitchell is still firmly on Ohio State's board and I think the Buckeyes have a shot at landing him in the 2019 cycle. 

Now that we have gotten a good look at this team, how many wins do you think we end up with? - ITWASME

If all things hold how they should, I see Ohio State entering permanent Big Ten play with an 11-4 record, leaving the Buckeyes with 16 games remaining after that. The Big Ten schedule is favorable for Ohio State this year, as the Buckeyes only have to play Michigan State (home), Purdue (away) and Minnesota (neutral) once this year. Ohio State also draws Rutgers, Penn State and Indiana twice, which also seems favorable the way those teams are playing and stack up. 

I will say the Buckeyes end the regular season with 18 wins, leaving them an opportunity to finish with 20 should they steal a pair of games in the Big Ten Tournament. 

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