Chris Holtmann: Keyshawn Woods Will Have to Ease Into Leadership Role, Despite Veteran Status

By James Grega on July 19, 2018 at 8:35 am
Keyshawn Woods

For the second straight season, Ohio State is set to welcome a graduate transfer guard into its program. 

One year after bringing in Michigan transfer Andrew Dakich, Chris Holtmann brought Keyshawn Woods to Columbus for his final year of eligibility after two years at Wake Forest and another at Charlotte. 

On a team that has lost the vast majority of its leadership from a year ago, it might be assumed that a player of Woods' caliber and experience might be asked to step into a leadership role for the Buckeyes in 2018-19. That however, is not the case according to Holtmann, who said Tuesday that Woods should learn from Dakich and how the former Wolverine approached his lone season at Ohio State. 

"He has got great experience, (but) I don't think that is something he should jump into," Holtmann said of Woods' leadership role with OSU. "I don't think that is something that is going to be given to him right now. He is going to have to learn his way a little bit, and he will. That is one of the things Dakich did really well last year. He came in as a great listener right away and I think that meant something to our team. 

"He knew that Keita (Bates-Diop) and Jae'Sean (Tate) were guys that were going to carry that mantle a little bit, (but) by the end of the year, he had a prominent voice in our locker room."

This year, the assumed leaders of the team are C.J. Jackson and Joey Lane, the two longest tenured Buckeyes on the roster. Jackson however, is the only senior on the team with significant playing experience and is also Ohio State's returning leading scorer, having averaged 12.6 points per game a year ago.

In his college career, Woods is a 10.9 points per game scorer and a 42.5 percent three-point shooter, but as is evident of last year's team, leadership can come in all different situations. Despite scoring just three points per game and coming from Michigan, Dakich eventually became respected by the coaching staff and even the players, enough to be welcomed back as a coach. 

While Woods will be asked to do more on the floor than Dakich did last season, his role as a voice on and off the floor will likely develop as the season goes on. Since Dakich will be on the coaching staff this season, he can help guide Woods along in that transition as well. 

"They are both similar aged, so it's shared experiences. I think Andrew can talk about his path. Keyshawn's a good player and is going to help us in a lot of ways," Holtmann said. "I think it's going to be good for him to hear from Andrew and Keyshawn is a good enough kid to where he is going to listen and pay attention to that."

Woods will have an opportunity to bond with his new teammates more in just more than two weeks, as Ohio State is set to ship off to Spain for a 10 day trip on Aug. 1. The Buckeyes will play three games in as many cities while overseas and will also go through a number of practices as well. 

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