Chris Holtmann on J.T. Tuimoloau Playing for Ohio State Basketball: “I Think We’re A Ways Away From Him Stepping Onto A Court”

By Dan Hope on July 27, 2021 at 11:56 am
J.T. Tuimoloau
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The door is open for J.T. Tuimoloau to play basketball at Ohio State, but he hasn't joined Chris Holtmann's squad yet.

Asked about the possibility of Tuimoloau playing basketball for the Buckeyes on Tuesday, Holtmann said the door is open for Tuimoloau to join the team but that no final decision has been made on whether he will.

“I think we’re a ways away from him stepping onto a court,” Holtmann said. “Ryan (Day) and I will have conversations. It’ll, I’m sure, ultimately will come down to what the young man and his family really want to do.”

Holtmann said he and his staff have watched film of Tuimoloau playing basketball, and they were impressed. Tuimoloau had basketball offers from Washington and Oregon – two of the other finalists for the five-star football recruit – so he has the talent to legitimately play basketball at the Division I level.

“We’ve seen him on film. We watched him a little bit,” Holtmann said. “I met with him when he was here, we had breakfast. Beautiful kid, beautiful family.”

As the No. 3 overall prospect in the recruiting class of 2021, though, Tuimoloau's future primarily resides on the football field, where he's expected to be a star for the Buckeyes and eventually play in the NFL. The Ohio State basketball team doesn't really need any additional players for the 2021-22 season, either, as the Buckeyes have 14 scholarship players.

More importantly, though, Holtmann doesn't want basketball to interfere in any way with Tuimoloau's football aspirations.

“I’m not gonna stand in the way of a national championship or a first-round pick,” Holtmann said.

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