Brice Sensabaugh's heard the talk.
Ohio State's breakout freshman star is widely projected to be a first-round NBA draft selection following his first year of college basketball, which has left many to wonder if he'll follow in Malaki Branham's footsteps as the second straight one-and-done in the Buckeye basketball program.
The four-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, who leads the Buckeyes with an average of 17.6 points per game this season, admitted he's seen that speculation during Tuesday's interview session at the Schottenstein Center. But Sensabaugh said he's not letting it distract him from the task at hand.
"Yeah, I hear it. I would be lying to you if I said I wasn't," Sensabaugh said. "But to be honest man, I think I try to focus on staying where my feet are and living in the moment. And I think I do a pretty good job of that. I don't really pay much attention to it, to be honest. Whatever I can do in the moment to play however I'm playing or make little improvements for Ohio State, obviously things like that build up or your performance gets better or anything of that nature, it can reflect on the future. But right now I'm just in the moment."
Sensabaugh said his parents and the Buckeye coaching staff have kept him grounded as he continues to excel as a first-year sensation. Not to mention, Sensabaugh's individual success has come amid a rough stretch for Ohio State, which has dropped seven of its last eight games heading into the final 10 games of the regular season.
For that reason, Sensabaugh said he's more focused on helping the team try to turn things around before the postseason than he is on garnering NBA attention.
"I give a lot of credit to my parents for raising me like that. And obviously a lot of credit to the coaches as well," Sensabaugh said. "Obviously they've made it clear to me that they want the best for me and my future, wherever it may be. Not even as a player, but as a man. So they emphasize for me to stay in the moment, and obviously they're the coaches of Ohio State and I'm a player of Ohio State, so whatever we have to do for Ohio State is gonna happen.
"And obviously we're in a little dip right now, but we're just constantly working and constantly having conversations about how we can get better and keep improving."
The Buckeyes take on Wisconsin at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Schottenstein Center, where they'll try to regain momentum heading into the final full month of the regular season. Check out everything Sensabaugh said in his Tuesday interview session in the video above.