Harvard Forward Seth Towns Announces Transfer to Ohio State

By Colin Hass-Hill on March 21, 2020 at 11:15 pm
Seth Towns

Seth Towns is heading home.

The Columbus native who made a name for himself in the Ivy League announced his intention to transfer from Harvard to Ohio State on Saturday night's SportsCenter. He got contacted by more than 70 schools, eventually whittled his list of schools down to two, then opted to continue his collegiate career as a Buckeye.

Ultimately, his choice came down to Ohio State and Duke, which first contacted him less than a week ago. Before the Blue Devils wedged their way into the picture, his other finalists were Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Syracuse, and Virginia.

He's the top-ranked immediately eligible transfer on the market, per ESPN.

Towns, who has missed the past two seasons with a knee injury that required multiple surgeries, will be immediately eligible to play for the Buckeyes next season. The 6-foot-7, 215-pound forward is expected to have two seasons of eligibility remaining once he applies for and the NCAA approves a sixth-year waiver. He'll graduate from Harvard with a degree in sociology this spring.

The Towns File

  • Year: Redshirt Junior
  • Size: 6-foot-7, 215 pounds
  • Pos: Forward
  • School: Harvard
  • Stats: 16 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.8 assists per game in 2017-18

When healthy, Towns showcased himself as an impact player with NBA potential capable of impacting games at any level of college basketball, which is why he received interest from many of the nation's top programs.

He earned Ivy League Player of the Year honors as a sophomore in 2017-18 when he averaged a team-leading 16 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 27.9 minutes per game. That year, he shot 41.9 percent from the field, 44.1 percent from 3-point range and 80.5 percent from the free-throw line. Towns also recorded 12.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in 24.6 minutes per game as a freshman during the 2016-17 season.

He started 44 of 58 games at Harvard, ending his career with 42.3/41.9/81.2 shooting splits.

His most impressive performance on the national stage at Harvard came when he dropped 25 points off the bench in a nine-point loss at Kentucky on Dec. 2, 2017. Nobody else on the Crimson scored more than 10 points.

The health of Towns' left knee, however, naturally will be a bit of a concern for Ohio State.

He hasn't played a game since injuring his knee in the Ivy League championship on March 11, 2018. Immediately afterward, an MRI showed a bone bruise, per the Washington Post. A couple months later, doctors found a "small cartilage tear" in a follow-up MRI, leading to surgery that unexpectedly ended his 2018-19 season before it even began. When the health of his knee still didn't improve, he saw another doctor in December who told him the tear in his cartilage hadn't yet healed, necessitating a second surgery that took place in early January.

Towns is expected to return to full health at some point this summer, possibly around June or July, a source told Eleven Warriors. Since the season won't start until the fall, he doesn't need to rush the recovery process.

Provided he's healthy, Towns has the chops to make a run at a starting forward spot, even if he has to first knock off some rust. He and Cal transfer Justice Sueing, who sat out the 2019-20 season, are the most likely candidates to replace Andre Wesson as the starting small forward.

With Towns in the mix, Ohio State now has 14 scholarship players on its 2020-21 roster. Ohio State already had one unexpected departure this offseason after DJ Carton chose to enter the transfer portal, but another player still must leave this offseason in order for the Buckeyes to get back to the 13-scholarship limit. 

Before spending four years at Harvard, Towns starred at and graduated from Northland High School. He set the high school record for most points in a career (2,018), single season (759) and single game (47).

As a high school prospect, Towns was ranked No. 129 overall and as the No. 9 Ohioan in the 2016 recruiting cycle. Ohio State, Michigan, Dayton, Iowa, Purdue, Virginia Tech and Xavier were among the schools that offered Towns a scholarship out of Northland.

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