Ohio State wasted little time finding a potential replacement for Malaki Branham at the shooting guard position.
The Buckeyes landed their first commitment out of the transfer portal this offseason Saturday as former Wright State guard Tanner Holden announced he will stay in Ohio and join the scarlet and gray. Holden will have two years of eligibility with the Buckeyes.
Holden, a 6-foot-6, 185-pound guard from Wheelersburg, Ohio, averaged 20.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game as an All-Horizon League performer in 2021-22, leading the Raiders to a conference tournament championship and their first-ever NCAA Tournament win.
The Holden File
- Year: Junior
- Size: 6-foot-6, 185 pounds
- Pos: Guard
- School: Wright State
- Stats: 20.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.5 assists per game last season
An unranked prospect in the 2019 recruiting cycle, Holden was an instant impact player for Wright State as a true freshman, averaging 11.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting 61.1 percent from the floor. Holden made the Horizon League's All-Freshman team in 2019-20, and only continued to improve from there. As a sophomore, Holden upped his scoring average to 15.8 points per game, shooting 52 percent from the floor and grabbing 7.1 rebounds for the Raiders.
But Holden's best season was his most recent, averaging 21.4 points per game during Wright State's five-game postseason run, which included a conference title and a berth in the NCAA Tournament as a No. 16 seed. Holden scored 37 points to lead the Raiders to a First Four win over Bryant, but Wright State's season came to an end thereafter as it ran into No. 1 seed Arizona in a 17-point March 18 loss.
Holden had 20 games with at least 20 points this past season, and scored 37 or more points on two occasions. Holden shot 49.7 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from 3-point range, and was second in the country in both free-throw makes (221) and attempts (280). Holden started all 36 games for Wright State as a junior, and has started 91 of his 92 collegiate appearances overall.
Holden announced his intentions to enter the transfer portal with a statement on social media this past Tuesday.
Given that Branham, Ohio State's star freshman guard, declared for the NBA draft on Friday, Holden figures to be a perfect fit for a Buckeye team that will need scoring in its backcourt in 2022-23. Branham is maintaining his college eligibility for the time being, but is widely expected to be a first-round pick.
Ohio State also loses senior guards Jamari Wheeler, Cedric Russell and Jimmy Sotos out of its backcourt this offseason, which makes the addition of a veteran in Holden all the more important for Chris Holtmann and company.