The offseason is upon us.
For most on the outside of college basketball, it means this is a time to relax and watch the end of the NCAA tournament. For those on the inside with teams no longer in contention, it’s as busy as – if not busier than – any point during the season. Roster management has become the focus for all teams in the four-to-six-week window after the final game ends, with players making decisions about their futures and seemingly endless phone calls ruling coaches’ lives as they try to put together next season’s roster at a point in time when transfers have become more prevalent than ever before.
At Ohio State, there has already been some movement. Head coach Chris Holtmann brought in Jamari Wheeler as a defensive stopper from Penn State, and he lost Musa Jallow to the transfer portal. Kyle Young still has a decision to make about whether or not he wants to stay in college for one more year or go pro, and Holtmann’s staff continues to target several big men with the idea of potentially adding one, so the 2021-22 roster certainly isn’t set yet.
Here’s a quick update on some recent happenings in the world of Buckeye hoops.
Top Target Has A Date
Holtmann and assistant coach Ryan Pedon already secured one 2021 prospect who they recruited for about three years when they landed Malaki Branham last summer. Now, they’re trying to land another.
Five-star center Efton Reid has been in Ohio State’s crosshairs for an exceptionally long period of time, and during the entirety of his recruitment he has remained intensely quiet. He has rarely done interviews, and when he has actually spoken, he has been careful not to divulge anything.
Thus, it made some sense that he finally has a decision date set yet wasn’t the one to make the announcement. His mother, Maria, posted on Twitter that Reid will make his college choice on April 15.
April 15, 2021 here we come! My son, Efton J. Reid III will be announcing his college decision! Get that #15 Jersey ready here comes Big Man Efton Reid to the court! Mama bear has spoken!— Maria (@rebbie8041) April 3, 2021
This has been a long time coming both for Reid and the Buckeyes.
For as long as any other recruit in the 2021 cycle, Ohio State has targeted Reid, a 6-foot-11, 225-pound big man ranked No. 23 overall and as the No. 3 center. It has felt good about its relationships with him and his mother for a while, even though there has been a persistent degree of mysteriousness around this recruitment. The coaching staff brought him in for an official visit on the weekend of Oct. 5, 2019, and it remained in heavy pursuit of him ever since.
Reid played this season with IMG Academy's post-grad team after graduating from the Steward School in Richmond, Virginia. Going pro seemed to be on the table at some point, too, considering he’s old enough to do so, but that appears to be unlikely at this point.
Pittsburgh and Virginia have long been rumored as top contenders for him, but LSU has also wedged its way into the mix. The Panthers hold the only Rivals Futurecast pick for him, which was made by Jamie Shaw last week.
In 10 days, the speculation will end. At that point, Ohio State will know whether or not it has its first five-star big man in over a decade.
Making The List
The Buckeyes continue to check out the graduate transfer market with the idea of searching for somebody who might fit well next to E.J. Liddell.
Parker Fox, a Division-II standout who entered the portal in March, could be an option. He's a 6-foot-8, 210-pound forward who spent four years – playing three of them after redshirting as a freshman – at Northern State University and became an All-American with 22.3 points, 9.9 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game last season.
He’s looking to move up to Division-I with two years of eligibility remaining, and Ohio State is in the mix. The Buckeyes made Fox’s top-eight, along with Dayton, Vanderbilt, Creighton, TCU, Florida State, Minnesota and San Diego State.
Unlike Reid, a more traditional post player, Fox – a Minnesota native who played his college ball in South Dakota – is a bouncier and much more athletic forward. The transition from Division-II to Division-I shouldn’t go overlooked, but a quick peek at footage of him at Northern State shows why he has plenty of teams interested in him.
Here are some highlights:
Back To Work
Both Zed Key and Meechie Johnson are beginning important offseasons in their development as players, and they shared some video of what they’ve been working on.
First up, Key:
Next up, Johnson:
Etzler was named a first-team Division-IV All-Ohio selection on Monday with 19.4 points per game as a senior at Crestview High School in Convoy. The next step will be to prepare himself for the transition to the next level. He’ll enroll at Ohio State this summer.
Branham is a shoe-in for first-team Division-II All-Ohio honors, and he’s also a top contender of for the Ohio Mr. Basketball Award. The winner will be revealed on Wednesday.