Chris Holtmann Recaps Ohio State's Trip To Spain, Where He Jumped Off a Catamaran Boat

By Derrick Webb on August 30, 2018 at 8:35 am
Ohio State basketball coach Chris Holtmann led the Buckeyes to a 25-9 record in 2017-18.

He can recruit with the best in the nation, he’s got a proven track record of success everywhere he’s been and, apparently, he can jump off catamaran boats in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

If you’re wondering, Ohio State basketball coach Chris Holtmann is still cool as a cucumber.

Fresh off his Buckeyes’ 10-day trip to Spain, Holtmann met with local media Wednesday afternoon at the Schottenstein Center to discuss his coaching staff’s takeaways from the journey among other odds and ends.

While he admitted the competition level in which Ohio State faced in its three games overseas wasn’t exactly comparable with any of its Big Ten opponents, he also pointed out many positives that could help the Buckeyes when they do face Purdue, Michigan State, Wisconsin and others.

“The trip was outstanding. There were some challenges with long days and travel but our tour was outstanding. The competition was less than stellar and it’s no fault of their own. They’re trying to throw teams together and they’re out of season like we are," Holtmann said. “Just because of the nature of those games and how the competition can be, I don’t know how much we took from it. I do know we know more than what we did before 10 practices and three games. But it’s hard to make any really significant judgments now after this stretch.”

While in Spain, the Buckeyes beat the Madrid Generals (93-61), the Valencia All-Stars (95-63) and the Catalan All-Stars (68-66).

As the first two final scores suggest, the Buckeyes were on cruise control. But in that third game, they trailed early and found themselves in a dogfight.

“I would say it was equivalent, the first two teams were probably average Division II teams,” Holtmann said. “The last team was probably a good Division II team and that was a close game. We got the chance to play a lot of people but the last game was the best competition. We’re excited to get the guys back and begin workouts this week.”

Possibly more important than the final scores of each scheduled contest was the chance Holtmann’s team received to get closer as a unit.

“There were some pretty special memories. Seeing our eyes guys on some of the tours, seeing them enjoy that was great,” Holtmann said. “The catamaran, being on that together was a lot of fun. We stopped and jumped off the catamaran, and almost everybody did that together. We had lunch at sea together. It was our whole party. We were on our way from Valencia to Barcelona and stopped halfway there, two and a half hours in, and took the catamaran out. I would say that was the most significant (moment).”

If you actually watched the Buckeyes compete, you may have noticed an uptick in 3-point shooting from sophomore Kaleb Wesson.

If you weren’t watching but plan to this winter, Wesson may still be shooting 3’s.

“Collectively, our ability to shoot the ball could be a strength for us. We haven’t shot it great in stretches. But I do think it could be one of the strengths of our team. Having said that, you do lose a high volume 3-point shooter and shotmaker in Keita (Bates-Diop) and Kam (Williams) … and Andrew (Dakich) threw in his share. We lost quite a bit on that end. I don’t think Kaleb’s going be a high-volume guy but I do think it’s going to be important that he adds that element to his game. I could see him taking two or three times as many as he did last year.”

The Buckeyes won’t exactly begin their 2018-19 season with a cakewalk. On Nov. 7, they travel to Cincinnati for the season opener. In the weeks after, they’ll travel to Creighton and host several top-tier opponents.

Holtmann has a plan in mind.

“I’ve played at Cincinnati and at Creighton, and we also have some really challenging home games,” Holtmann said. “Those two early road tests are going to be environments that are going to be as challenging as any place in the county. To have that in the first couple of weeks in your season ... we’re really going to rely on our veteran guys because it’s a significant challenge."

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