Secondary Scorers: Having More Than One Consistent Option Will Do Wonders for Ohio State Basketball This Season

By David Wertheim on July 7, 2019 at 7:45 am
andre wesson

Last season, Ohio State basketball had two players score in double figures: C.J. Jackson, who finished his Ohio State career by averaging 12 points per game in his final season, and Kaleb Wesson, who returns to school after leading the Buckeyes with 14.6 points per game.

For comparison: Michigan State, the Big Ten's champion and representative in the Final Four last season, had four players averaging double figures, and a fifth at 9.8 ppg. 

Ohio State's roster gets a major uplift this year, however. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods are gone, but the Buckeyes signed the Big Ten's best recruiting class, led by four freshmen – multiple of whom are expected to play major roles in Columbus this season.

D.J. Carton is the top signee from the class, coming in at No. 33 overall, and will provide a major boost. While Jackson was able to score in bunches sometimes, he was also inconsistent for most of his Buckeye career. Ohio State has not had an elite scoring point guard since D'Angelo Russell's departure, and that is a void that Carton is looking to fill immediately. 

Carton isn't exactly known as a scorer, but that should probably change: the 2018-19 Iowa Boy's Basketball Player of the Year averaged 24.4 points per game in his senior season.

Alonzo Gaffney is an uber-athletic forward, and the Cleveland native is looking to make an immediate splash at Ohio State. The forward position didn't exactly have elite scoring attached to it at Ohio State last year; Andre Wesson led the way at the position with 8.6 points per game, which is solid, but there is certainly room to improve.

E.J. Liddell comes in at the power forward spot as another option, and he is expected to play major minutes this year as well, especially with the transfer of Jaedon LeDee.

Now, for the returners: Andre Wesson will be the lone senior on this year's team, and he has gone from a player who was not expected to do much of anything in his career to a player who has hit big shots and become relatively consistent at the collegiate level. He is expected to be in the starting lineup on opening night once again this year, and will provide leadership and toughness to a team that will need it, being one of the youngest in the conference.

Justin Ahrens showed spurts of brilliance last year, including his 29-point outburst against Iowa, but he will have to be more consistent overall to gain valuable playing time and become a legitimate option.

Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington return as sophomore guards who also had impressive flashes last year, but seemed run down in the second half of the season. Muhammad is an elite defender whose offensive game needs to catch up, while Washington has a scoring mentality but needs more experience to take his game to the next level.

Musa Jallow and Kyle Young are both expected to play solid minutes as juniors.

C.J. Walker, after sitting out last year due to his transfer from Florida State, will step in and get some minutes at the point guard spot. Walker was a starter on a team that reached the Sweet 16 a few years ago, so he has the knowledge and experience to be able to play well.

It should be a fun year. Expect to see more scoring. 

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