Kyle Young and CJ Walker are gearing up for their final home game as Buckeyes on Saturday.
Neither is quite yet ready to make that official, even though both plan to go through Senior Day festivities ahead of this weekend's game versus Illinois. The NCAA decided a few months ago to not count this season as a year of eligibility for winter athletes, thus giving Young and Walker – a pair of seniors – an opportunity to return for the 2021-22 season if they so choose.
They both said on Thursday they’re not yet going to make any declarations one way or another.
“It's always a possibility, for sure, with the free year for COVID,” Walker said. “That's obviously an option for me. That's something my coaching staff and parents talk about frequently. As of right now, that's not a decision I've made 100 percent. But yeah, I've been in college a very, very long time.”
Walker said he’ll make a decision on his future once March concludes. Young, too, plans to wait until next month.
“I haven't made a decision yet,” Young said. “I'm waiting until after the season. Weigh out my options and go from there.”
It would qualify as a legitimate surprise if Walker opted to stay in school. The point guard is turning 24 years old this month and already in his fifth year of college. Head coach Chris Holtmann has talked openly about Walker's career with the implication that he plans to move on after this season to begin what he hopes to be a fruitful professional career before starting to coach.
Still, Walker isn't setting it in stone quite yet. He wants to lead Ohio State through the Big Ten tournament and NCAA tournament, collecting trophies along the way without making the final call.
“If this is the end for me, I'm forever grateful for everybody here,” Walker said.
Young, unlike Walker, is in his fourth year of college, though he has played more than 100 games as a Buckeye. He has also dealt with lower-leg pain the past several years that – while he often downplays it – could factor into whether or not he wants to stay at Ohio State for a fifth season.
Ultimately, he won’t make that decision known until next month.
“There's going to have to be a lot of conversations with a lot of different people. I'll just leave it at that,” Young said. “Everything with my body, even this year I've been feeling pretty good compared to even last year and the year before. We've been doing a good job managing everything with rehab. Really haven't had too many problems. It's going to have to be a lot of conversations and view a lot of different things.”
He and Walker will have their families in the Schottenstein Center for Senior Day festivities on Saturday, even if they’re leaving it open as to whether or not they will return for 2020-21, since this might be the last time they suit up on their home court as Buckeyes.
“Just growing up being an Ohio kid, what Ohio State means to everyone in the state of Ohio, my family growing up being Ohio State fans, and even just the fact that playing college basketball at this high of a level in the Big Ten these past four years has been incredible,” Young said. “It's been a dream of mine. I've been living that dream for the past four years. It's incredible. I'm just very grateful to be in the position I am.”