What Happened To The Ohio State Players Who Decommitted Or Transferred In The Past 5 Years

By Colin Hass-Hill on April 13, 2020 at 10:18 am
Mickey Mitchell
Mickey Mitchell throws down a dunk for Arizona State. Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The roster churn is (presumably) over.

Ohio State averaged a player added or lost every three or four days over the past three weeks. Kaleb Wesson entered the draft, DJ Carton and Luther Muhammad entered the transfer portal and Alonzo Gaffney left the program, and Harvard’s Seth Towns, Bucknell’s Jimmy Sotos and Utah State’s Abel Porter all transferred to play for Chris Holtmann’s Buckeyes.

While the additions were undoubtedly noteworthy, the defections were the latest in a lengthy list of players who either once played or expected to play for the Buckeyes.

In the past five years, 15 Ohio State players have transferred, decommitted or entered the transfer portal. What have they done since leaving Columbus? Let’s examine.

Austin Grandstaff

Transferred on Dec. 17, 2015

Once the third addition to a group that did not become nearly as heralded as the Thad Five, Grandstaff headed to Columbus as a four-star shooting guard from Rockwall, Texas. Ten games into his college career, his time in Columbus came to an end. In mid-December, Ohio State confirmed Grandstaff would seek a transfer.

Less than a month later, he chose Oklahoma as his next destination. By June 2016, Grandstaff’s plans again changed, and he transferred to DePaul. He sat out the following season then appeared in 20 games off the bench while averaging 1.4 points, 0.8 assists and 0.7 rebounds in 7.5 minutes per game during the 2017-18 season. Grandstaff then found himself on the move again, transferring to Texas A&M Commerce, where he spent the past two years playing at the Division-II level.

Not needing to sit out since he dropped below Division I by transferring a third time, Grandstaff averaged 7.9 points in 14 games in 2018-19. As a fifth-year senior, he put up 7.6 points in 19.5 minutes per game while shooting 36.1 percent from the field and 32.7 percent from 3-point range. Along the way, he also began a music career, going by Ag303. Grandstaff dropped his first album in the fall.

Daniel Giddens

Transferred on March 28, 2016

A four-star big man from Georgia, Giddens was the first of three dominos to fall shortly after Ohio State’s 2015-16 wrapped up with a second-round NIT loss. After averaging 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds per game as a freshman, he requested his release and joined Avery Johnson at Alabama a month and a half later.

Giddens sat out the following season then averaged 4.2 points and 2.5 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game for the Crimson Tide. The next year, he only played 115 total minutes in 14 games. He opted to transfer again, and the Chris Holtmann-led Buckeyes shockingly became an option. That didn’t come to fruition, though, and he ended up at Vermont, where he recorded 3.4 points 3.1 rebounds and 0.6 blocks in 14.5 minutes per game as a full-time starter.

Mickey Mitchell

Transferred on March 29, 2016

A four-star small forward out of Plano, Texas, Mitchell committed to play for the Buckeyes while his brother, Mike, was a freshman linebacker for Ohio State. Nearly a year later, on Aug. 21, 2014, he decommitted. Mike had left the football team earlier that year in January. Two weeks later, though, Mitchell committed to Ohio State for a second time. He stuck with the second pledge, signing his National Letter of Intent and averaging two points and 2.8 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game. One year was enough, though.

Mitchell requested his release from the basketball program nine days after his freshman season ended, and he committed to play for UC Santa Barbara. But that didn’t last. He never enrolled and ended up at Arizona State, where he spent three seasons to end his college career. In 53 games with the Sun Devils, he managed 3.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18 minutes per game.

A.J. Harris

Transferred on March 29, 2016

Harris, the first member of Ohio State’s heralded 2015 recruiting class, also lasted only one season. See a theme yet? Of course you do.

The undersized Dayton point guard played 13.7 minutes per game off the bench as a freshman before joining Grandstaff, Giddens and Mitchell as the fourth first-year player to not make it more than a season at Ohio State. Harris chose to transfer to New Mexico State. After sitting out the 2016-17 season, he started back-to-back years, averaging 9.5 points and 3.5 assists in 26.6 minutes per game. Harris was set up to start a third season in a row, but an ankle injury cut short his season after three games.

He’s reportedly seeking a medical exemption for a sixth year due to the injury that ended last season prematurely.

Darius Bazley

Decommitted on April 26, 2017

Both Bazley and Justin Ahrens committed to Ohio State on Aug. 27, 2017. Though Ahrens just ended his second year as a Buckeye, Bazley never got close to playing a game for either Matta or Holtmann.

The top-ranked Ohioan in the 2018 recruiting cycle decommitted from Ohio State on April 26, 2017. He ethered the state of the program on the way out the door, noting the Buckeyes “didn’t even make the NIT.” Three months later, Bazley pledged to play for Syracuse. Yet, even after signing his National Letter of Intent and playing in the 2018 McDonald's All-American Boys Game, he announced he’d skip college to play in the G League.

Not shockingly, plans again changed. Bazley instead took a highly publicized three-month, $1 million New Balance internship, spent the year working out then got picked 23rd overall. The rookie was putting up 4.5 points and grabbing 3.7 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per game before the season got put on pause.

JaQuan Lyle

Announced he had left the team on May 13, 2017

In a recap of extraordinary, abnormal happenings, Lyle’s situation stands out. 

The last remaining member of the infamous 2015 recruiting class originally committed to Louisville and signed with Oregon but wasn’t able to play for the Ducks, sending him to IMG Academy for a year of prep school. Once on campus at Ohio State, Lyle became a starting guard, averaging 11.3 points, 4.4 assists and four rebounds per game across two seasons. 

On May 13, 2017, Lyle’s citations for three misdemeanor charges – public intoxication, criminal mischief to a vehicle and disorderly conduct – came to light. In a surprising statement, an Ohio State spokesman confirmed Lyle had quit the team on April 11, 2017, though the team hadn’t acknowledged that before then.

Lyle ended up at New Mexico, sitting out the 2017-18 season. He then suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon, holding him out the 2018-19 season. Finally, Lyle got back onto the court to average 14.9 points, 4.6 assists and 4.2 assists per game in 2019-20. The successful year on the court was somewhat marred by a shooting at an Airbnb party he hosted in January. 

Dane Goodwin

Decommitted on June 21, 2017

An Upper Arlington product, Goodwin made a lot of sense when he committed to Ohio State on Dec. 1, 2014, even though the class of 2018 graduate hadn’t played a single high school basketball game yet. He remained committed to the Buckeyes until Matta got fired in 2017, causing him to reevaluate and ultimately decommit. Despite taking a visit to Ohio State to check out the Holtmann-led program, Goodwin committed to Notre Dame on July 5, 2017.

In two years for the Fighting Irish, Goodwin has shown promise. Coming off the bench both as a freshman and sophomore, his points per game (6.4 to 10.8), assists per game (1.1 to 1.3), rebounds per game (3.2 to 3.8), shooting percentage (37.6 to 43.3) and 3-point percentage (34.3 to 37.7) went up in his second year.

Braxton Beverly

Granted release on June 30, 2017

Out of Virginia’s Hargrave Military Academy, Beverly joined Kaleb Wesson as the second member of Ohio State’s 2017 recruiting class. Because of Matta’s firing, though, Beverly was given his release from the university shortly after enrolling. Less than a month later, he transferred to North Carolina State where he planned to continue his basketball career later that year. 

After an uproar caused by the NCAA’s declaration of Beverly’s ineligibility stemming from him attending a summer class at Ohio State, he was given immediate eligibility. He quickly became a key piece of the Wolfpack, starting 73-of-98 games the past three years. At North Carolina State, the 5-foot-11 point guard has averaged 8.7 points, 2.5 assists and 1.9 rebounds in 28.9 minutes per game.

DJ Funderburk

Dismissed on June 30, 2017

Funderburk became the latest Cleveland native to pledge to Ohio State on April 1, 2015, eventually signing with Ohio State seven months later. Though he was ranked a top-100 overall prospect, the center redshirted as a freshman and never played a game for the Buckeyes. Soon after getting hired, Holtmann suspended him for a “failure to meet team expectations” on June 15, 2017. Two weeks later, Funderburk got dismissed from the team by the new head coach.

He ended up at Northwest Florida State for a year before, like Beverly, he joined North Carolina State’s team. Coming off the bench in 2018-19 after sitting out a season, Funderburk averaged 8.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He managed 12.8 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season and now has one year of eligibility remaining.

Torrence Watson

Decommitted on Aug. 26, 2017

Watson’s stint as a prospective Buckeye lasted less than two months. A four-star shooting guard from St. Louis, he already had a relationship with Holtmann, who landed his commitment on July 10, 2017. Watson decommitted in August then chose to stay in his home state, signing with Missouri.

With the Tigers, Watson has averaged 5.9 points and 1.4 rebounds in 19.9 minutes per game mostly off the bench the past two years. He’s shot 33.1 percent from the field and 32.5 percent from behind the 3-point arc. Watson also was cited for a DWI on Sept. 29.

Micah Potter

Transfers on Nov. 5, 2018

Recruited by Matta, Potter put up 4.1 points and pulled down 3.1 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per game as a part-time starting big man. After his freshman season, the Mentor native got a new coach when Holtmann took over and became a backup to Kaleb Wesson, averaging 4.1 points and 2.4 rebounds in 10.1 minutes per game off the bench.

Two days before his junior season began, Potter decided to transfer and landed at Wisconsin a month later. He sat out the 2018-19 season and, despite widespread support, couldn't get a waiver to play immediately. So, he had to sit out the fall semester before debuting as a Badger against UW–Milwaukee on Dec. 21. Mostly coming off the bench, Potter set career highs with 10.1 points and 6.2 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game. He’s in line to start on a veteran-laden Wisconsin team as a redshirt senior next year.

Jaedon LeDee

Transfers on March 28, 2019

After averaging three points and 1.7 rebounds in 6.6 minutes per game as a backup big man, LeDee chose to head back to his home state of Texas after his freshman season at Ohio State. A few other schools were interested, including Houston which had just eliminated the Buckeyes from the NCAA tournament in the second round, but he chose to continue his career at TCU. 

LeDee was given a waiver to become immediately eligible to play for Jamie Dixon’s Horned Frogs just before the third game of the 2019-20 season. He played in 30 games, coming off the bench to average 2.7 points and 2.9 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game.

DJ Carton

Transfers on March 19, 2020

Carton’s indefinite leave of absence to work on his mental health issues turned permanent when he announced his entrance into the transfer portal in March soon after the season ended. The high-flying point guard has maintained a quiet recruitment, though he reportedly has heard from a list of schools that includes Wisconsin, Marquette, Iowa State, Nebraska, Creighton, Minnesota, Memphis, Mississippi and more.

Alonzo Gaffney

Leaves team on March 22, 2020

Though the addition of Gaffney – at the time, a five-star Ohioan – was arguably Holtmann’s most heralded commitment at Ohio State, his time as a Buckeye was short-lived. He played in 17 games, averaging 1.8 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. He also was away from the team for the season’s last four games. Gaffney plans to leave Ohio State, likely to pursue professional options. He reportedly entered the transfer portal on Thursday, though.

Luther Muhammad

Transfer on April 5, 2020

The most recent transfer started 56-of-64 games at Ohio State before determining he’d like to finish his college career elsewhere. Muhammad plans to announce his destination on Tuesday. The New Jersey native will decide from a list of schools that includes Seton Hall, Arizona State, UCLA, West Virginia and New Mexico.

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