There’s a stockpile of symmetry between what Jamison Battle brings as a transfer and what Ohio State basketball needs for its 2023-24 season.
The Buckeyes lost two of their biggest scoring threats from a year ago, both wing players. Battle is a dynamic scorer from the wing.
The Buckeyes’ biggest goal, per both head coach Chris Holtmann and their players, is to get better on defense. That’s a goal Battle is aligned with.
“Defensively, I’ve improved over the last two years, but I think I’m looking to make an even bigger jump this year at Ohio State because I know how important that is for our team to succeed, is defending in the Big Ten,” Battle said.
But perhaps bigger than any other area of alignment is Battle’s hunger to make the NCAA Tournament. Through two seasons at George Washington and two at Minnesota, he’s yet to play for a team with a winning record, and the Buckeyes themselves are trying to bounce back from a disappointing 16-19 campaign.
“Yes, this is my first year at Ohio State, but it’s a place for me to blossom,” Battle said. “It’s a place for me to get better and it’s a place for me to, potentially, achieve my goal of playing in the tournament then also play at the next level.”
Battle’s averaged at least 35 minutes per game since his freshman year with the Revolutionaries.
In his sophomore season, he piled up 17.3 points per contest before transferring to Minnesota, where he maintained his play against a higher level of competition in the Big Ten with 17.5 points per game as a junior.
“He’s a really proven, gifted scorer,” Holtmann said. “That is what we’ve seen from him so far in the preseason, the fact that he can score the ball. I think we needed that with the loss of some of our wings, mainly Brice (Sensabaugh) and Justice (Sueing), we knew we needed some scoring.”
Battle’s numbers dipped last season, as he averaged 12.4 points per game with a drop from 36.6 percent 3-point shooting to 31.1 percent. He feels he fell in love with his aim from behind the arc a bit too much and could have pump-faked then found a different look a bit more.
“I’d say that’s something that I didn’t do as well last year, is play off my shot,” Battle said. “You’re obviously looking to shoot first, but then once you get closed out on a hard closeout, you’re taking two dribbles. Whether that’s a shot for yourself, getting to the rim or kicking out.”
Still, Battle is averaging 14.4 points and shooting 35 percent from distance for his career. He likens his game to a certain future Hall of Famer who plays alongside Steph Curry at Golden State.
“I look up to a player like Klay Thompson,” Battle said. “Someone who can come out here and shoot off the dribble, shoot off the bounce but not over-dribble. Two to three dribbles is all I need.”
Battle has already proven he can produce in the Big Ten, so Ohio State feels like it’s getting a known commodity by bringing him in. But Holtmann still wants to see the fifth-year senior develop in his final season of college basketball.
“Now we’ve got to get him to continue to be that guy (that can score) and then do some things that we feel like he needs to do a little bit better, defending and being a better rebounder on both ends,” Holtmann said.
“He’s a really proven, gifted scorer.” – Chris Holtmann on Jamison Battle
It’s clear the Buckeyes have a plan in place for Battle to help both he and the team achieve their goals. They’ll get their first chances to work toward those ambitions come November.
“You want to go where you’re wanted,” Battle said. “From the first call I had with Coach (Jake) Diebler and then talking to Holtmann down in Minnesota, it was, ‘You’re wanted here, there’s a fit for you, there’s a position for you to play.’”