Presser Bullets: Roddy Gayle Jr. Needs To Do a Better Job Defending Through Fatigue for Ohio State, Scotty Middleton Still Day-to-Day

By Andy Anders on February 5, 2024 at 1:09 pm

While Ohio State saw some improvements against Iowa on Friday, it's little consolation for a team that has now lost seven of its last eight games.

To finally break through and start stacking wins as the Buckeyes desperately need to do, Chris Holtmann feels that Ohio State needs to sustain higher levels of play for longer. In a similar vein, he feels Roddy Gayle Jr. has to do a better job staying active defensively when he gets tired late in games.

Holtmann also updated the health status of Scotty Middleton, saying that he remains "day-to-day" with a foot injury and that he was a limited participant in practice.

  • Ohio State has had good runs of play, Holtmann said, turning those stints into wins is just a matter of sustaining the quality. "Just doing it longer, better. We've played with good purpose offensively the last few games."
  • Holtmann said it's hard to point to any one definition of what he means when he says the team wasn't "playing with purpose" on offense, but feels it was a systemic issue for a few games. "It was across the board, whether it was not playing through the paint as much or not taking as many shots where the defense was collapsing."
  • While Devin Royal still needs to take strides on the defensive end, Holtmann liked his effort in extended minutes against Iowa. "He's gonna be a very good player in terms of being able to score the ball at this level."
  • Holtmann added that Royal is going to add consistent three-point shooting to his game next year.
  • On recent improvements despite more losses: "I think we're playing better, but again, I've just gotta really stress, for us to see the rewards, we have to do it longer. ... But we've played better in certain areas for sure the last couple of games."
  • The team's response to adversity in the second half, hanging tight with Iowa, was something that Holtmann liked to see. "I did think they had a good way about them, a good response. Good in the huddles."
  • Holtmann agreed that it's harder to get what's needed out of young players on the defensive end as opposed to on offense. "For sure. And I think every coach would probably say that."
  • Roddy Gayle Jr.'s defensive effort as he gets gassed late in games needs to improve, Holtmann said. "I think it's sustaining an effort as much as anything. ... It's the thing that's always been a struggle with him a little bit, is being able to play through a little bit of fatigue."
  • More on Gayle's defense: "I think for him to reach his dreams as an NBA player, it's gotta come as a two-way player."
  • On Scotty Middleton's status after he missed the Iowa game: "Day-to-day, foot injury. Did it in practice the day before the game ... he did some things today."
  • On what he can say about the team losing seven and eight and where his focus is at: "There's no other point than focusing on preparation for today for the game tomorrow. ... That's not coach speak. ... If we do that, then I think good things will happen."
  • Ohio State was outscored 17-0 in fastbreak points at Iowa. "I don't think our transition defense was as good as it needed to be. ... I know that's a strength for them, but we have to do a better job of mitigating teams' strengths."
  • On Dale Bonner: "He's a young man that has a great approach, and he's gonna be important."
  • Holtmann also said that the reason Bonner was handling the ball in the waning seconds of the game was because he's the shooter they felt most confident in specifically for running up the floor and taking a three without stopping. He's been the most accurate on the team in that scenario in practice, per Holtmann.
  • Bonner's had a harder time growing into the Buckeyes' system without a starting role like the team's other two transfers have, Holtmann said. "Jamison and Evan's roles have been a little bit bigger. ... Sometimes a little bit harder for a guy that's playing spot minutes as a transfer."
  • Who plays and how much they play in games is dictated by performance in practice and who gives Ohio State the best chance to win on a given night, Holtmann said. "I'm not really concerned about dividing up minutes right now."
  • Holtmann said on his radio show that some players were "banged up," but outside possibly Middleton, he doesn't expect anyone to be out against Indiana. "I don't think it's anything significant enough to hold a guy out right now."
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