For the first time in his coaching career, Chris Holtmann inked a top-10 recruiting class.
After five-star point guard D.J. Carton, four-star forward Alonzo Gaffney and four-star forward E.J. Liddell signed their National Letters of Intent in the past week, Ohio State announced the 2019 signings Tuesday morning. Carton, Gaffney and Liddell make up the eighth-ranked class in the nation and the top class in the Big Ten.
“Our staff did a tremendous job working tirelessly to recruit these young men and our current players were terrific as well in welcoming them to our basketball family," Holtmann said in a statement. "D.J., E.J. and Alonzo will join our current players in representing The Ohio State University at a high level. All three are gifted players, highly competitive and they value winning and want to be a part of continuing to build a winning program. They have been very well coached and that will no doubt serve them well as they transition."
Gaffney, the No. 40 prospect in the nation, was the first to sign his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday. The native of Ohio is playing is senior year of high school at Brewster Academy in New Hampshire. He was the first prospect to commit to Ohio State when he announced on April 10.
“We are very excited about Alonzo,” Holtmann said in a statement. “He is someone we targeted as soon as we were hired. He has come from great programs in Ohio as well as his current program, Brewster Academy. He was the first player to commit to us for the 2019 class last spring. Alonzo has athleticism, skill and tremendous measurables. He has a very bright future. We look forward to developing him and we know Buckeye Nation will enjoy watching him play next fall. We are excited to officially welcome Alonzo and his family to the Ohio State Basketball family.”
Carton, the No. 25 overall prospect and the second-ranked point guard in the country, committed to Ohio State on July 14. He will join a backcourt with Duane Washington Jr., Luther Muhammad and Florida State transfer C.J. Walker.
“D.J. is a talented and gifted player and a great addition to our University and basketball program,” Holtmann said in a statement. “He possesses athleticism, tremendous feel for the game and high level competitiveness. We appreciate the edge he plays with. His development and growth as a player has been outstanding in the last couple years and we believe his best days are ahead of him. He really connected well with his future teammates on his visit and I know that was important to him and us. We are excited to welcome D.J. and his family to our Ohio State Basketball family.”
Liddell, the No. 49 overall prospect and the 10th-ranked power forward, committed to Ohio State on Oct. 1. He and Alonzo Gaffney will make up part of a deep frontcourt that will return three starting forwards – Andre Wesson, Kyle Young and Kaleb Wesson.
“E.J. is a tremendous addition to our University and basketball program,” Holtmann said in a statement. “He has the versatility, skill and toughness that is so important in today’s game. He and his team at Belleville West won a state championship and in recruiting him we came to realize how important winning is to him. E.J.’s talent and competitiveness will serve him well as he competes at the highest level of college basketball as a Buckeye. We are excited to welcome E.J. and his family to our Ohio State Basketball family.”