It's no secret that Ohio State needs a big man.
The BasketBucks played undersized the whole 2020-21 season with their tallest rotational player – Kyle Young – standing 6-foot-8. This hurt Ohio State at times, including in losses to Michigan, Iowa and Minnesota when the bruisers of the Big Ten such as 7-foot-1 Hunter Dickinson, 6-foot-11 Luka Garza, and 7-foot Liam Robbins gave the Buckeyes' defense fits.
As a result, Chris Holtmann is continuing to go after uncommitted recruits and taking a look at options in the transfer portal to help complete the 2021-22 roster. Here is a breakdown of some of the options.
John Harrar – Penn State Grad Transfer
Ohio State is certainly familiar with Harrar, a Big Ten mainstay from Penn State known for his offensive rebounding and intangibles such as effort and leadership. After averaging 8.8 points and 8.8 rebounds last season, Harrar was part of the mass exodus from Happy Valley after interim head coach Jim Ferry was not retained. It appears Ohio State has some interest.
The one "knock" on Harrar is that he has a very similar game to Kyle Young. If the Buckeyes were to lose Young, who has to choose whether to come back next year after completing four years at Ohio State, then Harrar would seem to be able to slide right in and fit the system. If Young doesn't leave, Harrar might be a big of a redundancy.
Efton Reid – IMG Academy Five-Star
Switching to the high school ranks, Efton Reid is an interesting case.
Since he is already a year older than most who are still in high school, he has the option to go pro rather than go to college. If he does pick the collegiate route, Ohio State is right there at the top of his list of suitors.
Reid would represent a different approach. Rather than getting a plug-and-play one-year impact player, you'd be grabbing a guy who represents the best of both world: either he is really, really good and leaves for the NBA after one year, or he sticks around to fully develop. Either way, Reid would provide Ohio State with its first five-star big man since Amir Williams and add to an Ohio State class that features in-state star Malaki Branham and Convoy Crestview's Kalen Etzler.
Chet Holmgren – Minnehana Academy, Five-Star
The biggest big man pipe dream since Myles Turner, Holmgren is a unicorn who is both a presence inside the key and outside the arc, and has completely earned his lofty No. 1 overall ranking.
Ohio State is not out for Holmgren, and may actually be running second in his recruitment. It would just be a distant second, as Gonzaga has appeared to separate themselves as the leader in Holmgren's recruitment at this time.
Nonetheless, it isn't over until he signs, and Holmgren hasn't cut the Buckeyes out yet. If Chris Holtmann and company can somehow pull off the miracle, Ohio State would immediately jump into national title conversations, however there would be inevitable conversations about Holmgren's slight frame relative to some of the bruisers in the Big Ten.
Most analysts say he has the second-best upside of any current prospect outside of Emoni Bates. I'd take that on my team.
Unknown Grad Transfer Big/Guard
The market is certainly not done evolving yet, and Ohio State will surely take a look at all of their options. The portal is literally changing every minute, and new names can be added at any time.
#Gators forward Omar Payne has entered the NCAA transfer portal, @Swamp_247 has learned.— Thomas Goldkamp (@ThomasGoldkamp) March 30, 2021
He reportedly told Mike White in exit interviews that he'd be back next season (per team reporter) - https://t.co/O17JDjie4M @247SportsPortal pic.twitter.com/xlCuU3oBHb
One of those being discussed is taking a guard with the final (expected) roster spot. Marshall transfer Jarrod West is committing on Wednesday.
The Buckeyes have also reportedly reached out to Penn State transfer Jamari Wheeler and Seton Hall's Shavar Reynolds.
Seton Hall transfer Shavar Reynolds has heard from Elon, Monmouth, Fordham, Ohio State, Norfolk State, Quinnipiac, Cal State Fullerton, St. Peter's, Rider, Bryant, James Madison, South Alabama, La Salle and Idaho. #shbb— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) March 29, 2021
Whatever Chris Holtmann decides to do, Ohio State's roster will look very similar to the one they trotted out last season. What they do with the final piece could shape the direction of 2021-22.