Rosemont, Ill. – At this point last year, no one knew quite what to expect from Chris Holtmann in his first year as head coach of Ohio State's men's basketball team.
The Buckeyes shocked many onlookers, however, with a second-place finish in the Big Ten after most analysts pegged them for a finish in the conference's cellar. This season, Holtmann's second at the helm, they won't be sneaking up on anyone, even though they were picked to finish eighth in the conference's media poll.
The Big Ten kicked off the 2018-19 men's basketball season on Thursday with the conference's annual media day. It began with each of the league's 14 head coaches, including Holtmann, taking the podium for 10-minute press conferences.
Ohio State did not have a player named to the preseason All-Big Ten team last year, and it followed that up this season by once again not having anyone on the preseason team. Purdue's Carsen Edwards was named preseason Big Ten player of the year.
Here is everything Holtmann discussed during Thursday's Big Ten media day press conference.
- "I really do feel like our league is poised for a very good year." He calls the league deep due to the returners, recruits and coaches.
- "As far as we're concerned, we have some questions that need to be answered." He says it's a "relatively new team" with six new players. He also says "we want to get everyone healthy" and there's only been one day of practice with everyone healthy.
- He says he thinks both he and the team's fans are "curious" and "anxious" to see how the team will respond after last year's success.
- Calls Luther Muhammad an important recruit given the lack of depth at guard. Says he's "really competitive" and can impact the game on both ends. Says he'll play a "big role" from "Day 1."
- "We've tried to put last year, as quickly as possible, in the rearview mirror." He calls that the most important thing the coaching staff he tried to do and says the team understands that some of last year's most important players.
- Says Keyshawn Woods has been good thus far and has a "terrific feel for the game." He'll play at all three perimeter spots. Holtmann calls Woods "critical for this group."
Stay with Eleven Warriors throughout the day for further coverage of Big Ten media day. C.J. Jackson, Andre Wesson and Holtmann are representing Ohio State in Chicago.