Just minutes after learning that he had been named Big Ten Coach of the Year, Keita Bates-Diop had been named Big Ten Player of the Year and Jae'Sean Tate and Kaleb Wesson had also earned conference awards, Chris Holtmann joined the airwaves of 97.1 The Fan to discuss Ohio State's award-winning day, look back at Friday's dramatic double-overtime win over Indiana, explain how the Buckeyes are preparing for this week's Big Ten Tournament and take questions from fans.
A recap of what Ohio State's coach said on this week's edition of The Chris Holtmann Show:
- While Holtmann was proud of his players for the honors they received, "I think we'd give all of those awards back if we could have just snuck in a tie for the championship," after the Buckeyes finished second to Michigan State in the final regular-season Big Ten standings.
- Holtmann said Bates-Diop "showed glimpses of being really good" in Ohio State's first month of practice, but he said the coaches didn't know until the actual games began that he would have such a special season. Holtmann considered Bates-Diop's game against Michigan State, when he scored 32 points against the No. 1 team in the country at the time, to be his breakout performance.
- Do you hope for another shot at Penn State on Friday? "You kind of do. They're obviously really good, and a really difficult matchup for us, but ... There is a part of you as a competitor where you say, 'Hey, can we get one more shot at these guys?' Because we just have not performed well against those guys.'"
- Holtmann said the Buckeyes will have Tuesday off, then practice Wednesday and Thursday before traveling to New York to play in Friday's quarterfinals. The Buckeyes will have game plans for both potential quarterfinal opponents, Northwestern and Penn State.
- While Holtmann described Friday's win over Indiana as a "remarkable game" and thought his team played hard, he also thought the Buckeyes "had pockets" of poor defensive play, which Holtmann was disappointed with.
- Holtmann said even if he had a timeout at the end of Friday's game, he doubts he would have called it, instead trusting his players to make a play without giving the defense an opportunity to prepare for it.
- Holtmann believes Ohio State's administration has done a good job making it clear to Ohio State's alumni and boosters that they want to run a clean program: "Everybody knows how we want to operate, the expectation for how we operate."
- Holtmann said he thought Jackson made the right decision in shooting the 3-pointer he did at the end of double overtime, and isn't just saying that because it went in, but because he felt that was the best play for Jackson in that situation: "Make or miss, I would have been patting him on the back ... That is right in his wheelhouse." Holtmann says the Buckeyes have seen Jackson make that same shot in practice, and that they work on practicing special situations throughout the year to be prepared for a moment like that.
- Holtmann says he still thinks Bates-Diop needs to get better at playing with physicality.
- "He's probably as physical a freshman as I've coached," Holtmann on Kaleb Wesson.
- On Kam Williams' return from suspension: "Kam accepted responsibility for making a poor decision."
- Has Kam Williams improved as a rebounder this year? "That was a relatively low bar, I think in some ways," Holtmann said with a laugh, before complimenting his athleticism and saying that Williams has done a better job fighting for rebounds this season.
- Ohio State already played once in Madison Square Garden earlier this year against Minnesota, and he expects that to be beneficial to his team as the Buckeyes play there again this week.
- Holtmann expects his players to understand they need to play with a "different level of intensity" as they turn the page to the postseason even though they don't have much experience playing in the NCAA Tournament.
- Holtmann says the Buckeyes still must improve their shot selection, avoid sloppy mistakes with the ball and tighten up defensively for the postseason.
- Holtmann said he allowed his staff to handle All-Big Ten voting, but said his coaches' first-team selections were Bates-Diop, Tate, Penn State's Tony Carr, Michigan State's Miles Bridges and Purdue's Carsen Edwards.