Transfer Portal Roundup: The Top Prospects Ohio State Has Contacted Since The End of Its 2022-23 Season

By Griffin Strom on March 29, 2023 at 8:35 am
Nick Timberlake, Jamison Battle
Charles LeClaire, Matt Krohn – USA TODAY Sports

The college basketball season is winding to a close, but transfer portal season has only just begun.

And as Chris Holtmann’s Ohio State history tells us, the Buckeyes won’t be shy about adding one or more prospects who are searching for new homes this offseason. Three scholarship transfers landed in Columbus in each of the past two seasons, and Ohio State has been in contact with a host of the nation’s top-rated transfers since the portal window officially opened earlier this month.

While Buckeye freshman Brice Sensabaugh entered his name in the NBA draft while maintaining his college eligibility on Saturday, Ohio State hasn’t experienced any other roster activity since its season came to an end. With three outgoing seniors and four incoming freshmen, the Buckeyes would actually be one player above the 13-man scholarship limit for next season as things stand. But in the modern age of college basketball, it would come as a surprise if Ohio State didn’t lose any members of its 2022-23 roster to the transfer portal in the coming months.

Multiple transfers Ohio State showed interest in over the past couple weeks have already committed to other programs. However, there is still a litany of players Holtmann and company could potentially land that are undecided about their future – and there’ll be plenty more to come. Eleven Warriors compiled a list of 15 transfer portal prospects Ohio State has reportedly been in contact with below.

Towson G Nick Timberlake

One of the top-rated prospects in the transfer portal, former Towson guard Nick Timberlake has attracted the attention of Ohio State and blue-chip programs such as North Carolina, Kansas and UCLA. With five years of experience under his belt, Timberlake turned in a career season in 2022-23 with averages of 17.7 points per game, 3.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Timberlake also hit at least 40% of his 3-point attempts in each of his past two seasons. Ohio State has already conducted a Zoom meeting and an in-home visit with the 6-foot-4 guard, and the Buckeyes saw Timberlake live and in color on Dec. 8, 2021, when he scored 11 points in an 11-point loss to OSU two seasons ago.

Minnesota F Jamison Battle

A familiar name for Big Ten basketball aficionados, Ohio State is in the mix for former Minnesota wing Jamison Battle, who is looking for a third landing spot to close out his college basketball career. The 6-foot-7 sharpshooter was a standout at George Washington before transferring to Minnesota ahead of the 2021-22 season. Battle averaged 17.4 points per game in his first year with the Golden Gophers, but that number shrank to 12.4 as he dealt with injury issues in 2022-23. Battle has already had in-home visits with schools like Butler and Indiana.

Harvard F Chris Ledlum

Ohio State could claim its second Harvard transfer of the past few years as it’s been in contact with 6-foot-6 forward Chris Ledlum since he entered the portal on March 7. An All-Ivy League selection this past season, Ledlum averaged 18.8 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as Harvard’s leader in both categories. However, Ledlum has also fielded interest from schools like Kentucky, UCLA, Nebraska, Indiana, Maryland and Florida, among others.

Temple G Khalif Battle

The brother of former Syracuse star Tyus Battle, Khalif Battle is on the move for the second time in his college career. Battle started at Butler as a top-100 overall recruit before becoming a breakout star at Temple, where he averaged 17.9 points per game mostly off the bench this past season. After dealing with injury issues in his first two years at Temple, Battle stepped away from the program in February amid disagreements with the coaching staff, and Ohio State is among the schools that have been in contact. However, Battle has received a 247Sports Crystal Ball to UCF after officially visiting the program this week.

ECU G Javon Small

Ohio State reportedly met with East Carolina transfer guard Javon Small on Monday. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound Indiana native only averaged two points per game as a true freshman, but broke out in his second season to put up a team-leading 15.8 points per game to go along with 5.6 assists and 4.8 rebounds. Small appeared in 18 games for the Pirates before suffering a season-ending leg injury in January.

Arizona State G DJ Horne

Arizona State’s second-leading scorer this past season is looking for a new home to finish out his final year of collegiate eligibility in 2023-24, and Ohio State was one of the schools to show interest in 6-foot-1 guard DJ Horne after he entered the transfer portal last week. The North Carolina native started his college career at Illinois State, where he matched up with Ohio State in the 2020-21 season opener, but spent the past two seasons with the Sun Devils. Horne averaged 12.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game across 35 appearances in 2022-23 and shot 35.5% from the 3-point line.

Syracuse G Joe Girard

After four years at Syracuse, 6-foot-1 guard Joe Girard entered his name in the 2023 NBA draft last Friday but also plans to assess his options in the transfer portal. A three-star recruit in the 2019 class, Girard now has 123 collegiate starts under his belt and led the Orange with an average of 16.4 points per game last season. Ohio State has been in contact with the career 36.3% 3-point shooter, who turned in eight performances of at least 20 points in 2022-23.

Louisville F Kamari Lands

A top-70 prospect in the 2022 class, 6-foot-8 forward Kamari Lands transferred out of Louisville following just one season with the Cardinals. Lands averaged 5.9 points in 21.1 minutes per game across 32 appearances with Louisville and started six games as a freshman. After he entered the transfer portal in early March, Ohio State contacted the Arizona native within the week.

Merrimack F Jordan Minor

Following a decorated four-year career at Merrimack, 6-foot-8, 240-pound forward Jordan Minor is looking to finish out his college tenure elsewhere. Ohio State has reached out to the three-time All-NEC selection, who earned co-conference player of the year honors and was the NEC Defensive Player of the Year after putting up 17.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 2.6 blocks per game in 2022-23.

Ball State C Payton Sparks

A two-time All-MAC selection and the conference’s freshman of the year in 2021-22, 6-foot-9 big man Payton Sparks is on Ohio State’s radar after entering the transfer portal following two seasons at Ball State. The Winchester, Indiana, native averaged 13.3 points per game on 58.8% shooting this past season, and also pulled down 8.7 rebounds a night in 31 starts for the Cardinals.

Update: Sparks committed to Indiana on Wednesday.

UNLV G Keyshawn Hall

Ohio State is among several high-profile programs to reach out to former UNLV guard Keyshawn Hall, who entered the transfer portal on March 20. The 6-foot-7 Cleveland native averaged 5.4 points per game in just 10.7 minutes per game as a freshman for the Runnin’ Rebels in 2022-23. In the lone game in which he logged more than 25 minutes last season, Hall put up a season-high 19 points against Utah State. Hall even visited Ohio State this past Friday, which could mean good things for a potential future in Columbus.

American F Johnny O'Neil

Ohio State has shown interest in former Patriot League Freshman of the Year Johnny O’Neil, who averaged 11.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game for American this past season. A 6-foot-9, 200-pound forward, O’Neil knocked down 44.7% of his shots and 39.2% of his 3-point attempts in his third year with the Eagles. O’Neil has two years of eligibility remaining.

UIC G Jace Carter

All-Missouri Valley Conference second-team selection Jace Carter has caught the eye of multiple Big Ten programs, including Ohio State and Michigan State, since entering the transfer portal on March 10. The 6-foot-5 guard led UIC with an average of 16.6 points and seven rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2022-23, and has also heard from the likes of Arkansas, Clemson, Missouri, Oklahoma, Ole Miss, South Carolina and Villanova. Carter will have two years of eligibility left after deciding on a destination.

Rhode Island G Ishmael Leggett

Former Rhode Island guard Ishmael Leggett torched A-10 defenses to the tune of 16.4 points per game across 31 appearances in 2022-23, and pulled down 5.8 rebounds per game to boot. Just four days after entering the transfer portal earlier this month, Leggett had already heard from at least 17 programs, including Ohio State, Minnesota, Arkansas, Georgia, Butler, Boston College and Oklahoma. The 6-foot-2 guard started 70 games in three years at Rhode Island.

Wofford G Jackson Paveletzke

The Freshman of the Year in the Southern Conference this past season, 6-foot-3 guard Jackson Paveletzke averaged 15.1 points per game on 49.3% shooting and 39.3% from 3-point range in his first year with Wofford. Ohio State is one of a slew of Big Ten programs, along with Penn State, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota and Wisconsin, to reach out to the Wisconsin native since he entered the transfer portal on March 15.

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