C.J. Stroud definitely had some fun at Big Ten Media Days in July.
The claim heard ’round Columbus started innocently enough when Stroud said he had bested Jaxon Smith-Njigba in H-O-R-S-E nine straight times. What followed, however, was the likely first-round 2023 NFL draft pick boldly predicting a group of Ohio State football players could beat the basketball team in hoops.
C.J. Stroud says he recently beat Jaxon Smith-Njigba in H-O-R-S-E nine straight times. He says he's the best shooter on the team, though Dawand Jones is the most complete basketball player ... and he thinks a group of football players could beat the Ohio State basketball team. pic.twitter.com/v0kc4a8f93— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) July 27, 2022
Of course, several basketball players had very different thoughts about that idea and took playful jabs at Stroud on social media and challenged his assessment.
Yall let him know we down to hoop— Eugene Brown III (@eugenebrown3_) July 27, 2022
Even Chris Holtmann got in on the fun when he met with the media before the Buckeyes’ trip to the Bahamas.
Chris Holtmann jokes about C.J. Stroud challenging the Ohio State basketball team to a 5 on 5 game against the football team:— Griffin Strom (@GriffinStrom3) August 1, 2022
We have the most confident QB1 in the country and I love it! pic.twitter.com/edxU8nIqaT
With all 14 Ohio State men’s basketball players available to speak to reporters at the team’s media day on Monday, we wanted to give all of them the chance to respond to Stroud’s claim. We asked every Ohio State player what the results would be if the basketball team actually played an exhibition game against the best hoopers from the football team, while also getting their opinions on who would be the toughest football player to guard and which gridiron Buckeye they would add to the basketball team if they could.
- How the game would play out: Well, C.J. knows that we’d whoop em. He knows. But they do have some athletes up there, I’m not gonna lie, they do have some hoopers. I’ll give that to them, but they’re not beating us in that, just like I don’t think we’d get them in football. But C.J. and I have a great relationship, he’s a funny guy and we talk about it all the time. But yeah, they’re not beating us on a court.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: I’ve heard a few names honestly. C.J. likes to gas himself up, I feel like he thinks he’s tough. But Dawand Jones is really good from what I’ve heard. They definitely have some hoopers.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: I’ll go with C.J. He really thinks he’s a hooper. So I’ll let him get out here and get a couple threes in, he swears that he’s got it.
- How the game would play out: I don’t know what the score would be, I don’t know, I think we’d win, but it’s all fun and games. I think overall it’s (a fun topic).
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: I actually played against Cade Stover a lot growing up in high school in the AAU circuit. I’m really good friends with Cade and I played him a numerous amount of times. I liked to guard him, he liked to guard me. It was a good matchup, we built a really good bond.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: I don’t know the whole roster, but I do know Paris Johnson and Dawand Jones. They’re big and strong guys. They’d probably get a few dunks.
Roddy Gayle Jr.
- How the game would play out: I don’t really wanna get into (what the score would be), but I feel like we put in work every day. We’d definitely have the advantage. There’s no telling how it’d go, but I like us.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: They’ve got some big guys, so I know it would be a pain trying to fight and move around screens. They have very athletic people, I know Sonny played in high school and I know that a bunch have basketball backgrounds.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: I’d probably say one of the big guys, any one of the big guys. Just to create some space, cover as much space as possible. I feel like that would help us a lot.
- How the game would play out: We’ll win by 15 to 20 points easily. I know they’re great athletes and I’m never taking that away from them because it’s hard to do what they do and being an athlete, you can adjust to certain sports. But we do this every single day. So I feel like it would be an easy blowout.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: Maybe C.J. if I had to guess. But they can’t stay with us though. That’s like us trying to play football. This is what we do every single day, we put blood, sweat and tears into it. They can’t beat us at basketball.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: I think Dawand Jones would be great. Who wouldn’t take him? A guy that big and strong, him setting a screen would be perfect for us.
- How the game would play out: We’d probably win by 40. I think when (C.J.) said that, he was just being confident. We’re the basketball players and they’re the football players and we’re all here to win for Ohio State. We’re all here for the same reason. But if that game was to ever happen, the basketball team would win by a wide margin.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: I really don’t know. You have the offensive linemen that are huge and 300 pounds so they’d be hard to guard in the paint. At the same time, we could just run the court and score on fastbreaks. I’m not sure, I’d really be interested to see C.J.’s game because I really have no idea about how he is at basketball. I think that would be really fun to see what his game is like.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: I’d probably add C.J., just because you know he’s a great leader because he’s the QB. Just from a leadership role alone, I think he’d be really fun to be around with the team.
- How the game would play out: We would beat them. At least by eight, maybe 10, 15. It’s going to keep going up, we’re going to beat them. We do this every day, we play basketball, come to practice, work out and condition. It’s basically our jobs. I’m not going on a football field and throwing 100 yards, I’m gonna throw my shoulder out if I tried to do that. But we’d definitely get them.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: Dawand Jones. He’s humongous. He’s 6-foot-11, he’ll be down there in the paint and he’ll be tough. Obviously we’re still gonna get him, I wouldn’t be worried about us losing to him.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: I’m sticking with my guys and the whole basketball team.
- What position he’d play on the football team: Well I’m not being a lineman, I’ll tell you that right now. I played that when I was younger. I need to be able to just like catch and run, (so I’d play receiver). I can’t be a quarterback, because if I see someone running through that line, it’s over. I’d just be like, here, take the ball. But I’d be a great receiver, I’d be a menace on the field.
- How the game would play out: My opinion is we win. If it’s a full college game, I’ll say 98-47.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: I don’t really know who they have. They were talking like they were just so great, but I don’t know what type of players they have over there.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: No idea.
- How the game would play out: Honestly, yo man, look. I’m new here. I don’t want to ruffle anybody’s feathers. But that’s something that they don’t want. That’s all I’m going to say.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: (Laughs) Um, shoutout to the football team. Them boys are real good, I think they’re gonna win the natty. But this hardwood is just different.
- How fellow former Oklahoma State athlete Tanner McCalister would fare in the game: My boy Tanner? Man, look. Since I know Tanner I can say this. Tanner knows. He knows what’s up. He might come out here and look crazy. But that’s my boy. It would be the same thing vice versa on the field, he’d make me look crazy out there.
- How the game would play out: We’d win for sure. As for a spread, I got us by 15-plus.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: I don’t know. C.J. has been talking a lot, so I guess I’ve gotta say C.J. the way he’s been talking.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: Anybody on the offensive or defensive lines. I’m sure they’re really good athletes, they’d be extremely talented and find ways to win and make plays.
- How the game would play out: I don’t know, the conditioning is so much different over there, I’m not sure what they do. They’re going to use their brute strength against us, right? But this is what we do day to day. So I don’t know how close it would be or whatever, but we play basketball and they play football. I don’t know about (a spread), because I’ve seen Dawand play and he played growing up and he’s really good. I know Jack Sawyer is really good, I played against him. So they have really good athletes over there.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: Absolutely Dawand. I couldn’t imagine trying to guard him in the paint.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: J.T. Tuimoloau wanted to be a dual-sport athlete, didn’t he? He’s really good. So I know he’s good. It would probably be either him or Dawand.
- How the game would play out: It’s gonna look bad for them, I’m not gonna lie to you. We’ve been working on this for a long time. We know that they’re dual athletes in high school, but it’s way different at the college level. We’d definitely win. I’ll give them a cool 20-something points, and we’ll score in the 60s.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: I don’t really know if anyone on the team played basketball, I only know about Sonny Styles. I’d say Sonny could put up 10 or 15 points.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: Sonny for sure.
- How the game would play out: I couldn’t even tell you. The exact score? I have no idea. (Turns to Felix Okpara) What do you think, bro? (Felix gives his 60-something to 20-something response.) Ha, I have no idea, man. We’re winning for sure, though.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: C.J. said Dawand Jones is the most complete basketball player, so I’d say him.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: My guy Sonny Styles is tough.
- What position he’d play on the football team: Tight end or wide receiver. I’ve always had good hands.
- How the game would play out: I don’t know about the score, but I’m definitely taking my guys. I’m not going to say a spread but I’ll say our guys by … nah, I’ll just take us to win.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: Definitely those bigger guys. They have advantages on us muscle-wise and weight-wise. I’ll get to know them and get back to you.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: Probably someone from the lines to give us size in the paint.
- How the game would play out: Hmm. There are some guys there that can hoop. But I’d say a good 93 to 34, something like that. They’d get a couple points. No offense to C.J., he can hoop.
- Which football player would be toughest to guard: C.J., 100 percent. He can handle the ball, he can move and he can shoot. He’s got some good high school film, too.
- Which football player he would add to the basketball team: We have a lot of guys so it’s hard to say C.J., but I would say Paris Johnson because he went to high school with me and he was supposed to play basketball when he was younger and he ended up not. Shoutout to my guy Paris, I’d love him to play because he could get the rebounds and all that.