2019-2020 CBB Preview: OHIO STATE BUCKEYES

Contributed by Ethan Goldberg

The #1 ranked Ohio State Football team can’t be the only Buckeye team on the country’s radar. Ohio State basketball is back and the team is reloaded and ready to compete. Chris Holtman’s once again is bringing a very talented recruiting class. Lead by the highly touted guard, Dj Carton, who remains a dark horse for Big Ten freshman of the year. Assisting him are 4th star recruits Ej Liddel and Alonzo Gaffney. Kaleb Wesson looks to take another step forward and is Big Ten player of the year candidate. Luthur Muhumad and Duane Washington Jr will look to lead this backcourt in scoring and Kyle Young is looking to be a defensive anchor.  We will now look at the probable lineup for the first game of the season, however, expect Holtman to be switching up the lineup periodically.

Starters

PG:#13 CJ Walker 6-1 195lbs (Redshirt Junior) – The Florida State transfer had to sit out last season due to NCAA regulations but he’s back and is ready to work. He will be relied on to carry the scoring burden left by graduating senior Cj Jackson (12.0 points). Holtman loves his intensity defensively and as a leader initiating the offense.

SG: #1 Luther Muhammad 6-3 185lbs (Sophmore) – The prized star from the 2018 recruiting class figures to have a big season. The New Jersey native left a strong impression on the coaching staff after averaging (7.6 PPG), and after a year in the program he looks to take a step forward. Look for him to make strides in his game, his brother and current defensive end for the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, Al-Quadin Muhammad said “HE’S ONE OF THE HARDEST WORKERS OUT THERE. ONE OF THE HARDEST WORKERS I KNOW BESIDES MYSELF.”

SF: #24 Andre Wesson 6-6 220lbs (Senior) – The overshadowed older brother of Kaleb Wesson, Andre is a complete glue guy for this buckeye team. Last season, he averaged 8.6 PPG and 4.5 rebounds. He typically guards the opposing team’s best perimeter threat and is the senior team captain. The Buckeyes will rely on his leadership and mentoring the younger players.

PF: #25 Kyle Young 6-8 205lbs (Junior) – After a strong freshman campaign, the 6-9 junior regressed last season with averages of 6.0 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Kyle needs to continue to be more aggressive in the paint and use his size and athleticism to score on smaller opponents. Kyle is an additional glue guy and knows his role really well.

C: #34 Kaleb Wesson 6-9 270lbs (Junior) – Kaleb Wesson was named to the Naismith Award preseason watch list, ranked #6 ranked player in college basketball according to Andy Katz, and lost 34 lbs from the conclusion of last season to now. There’s a lot of expectations in Columbus on Wesson shoulders. After averaging 14.6 points and 6.9 rebounds last season, Wesson decided to test the NBA draft process, however, after receiving an evaluation he decided to return to school and help Ohio State battle for supremacy in the Big Ten 

Key Reserves

SG: #4 Duane Washington Jr 6-3 190 (Sophomore) – Duane will be used heavily this year off the bench to provide a spark. As a 3pt specialist, Washington excelled in his role last year and was earning additional opportunities under Coach Holtman. Look for his role to be expanded and for him to grow as a leader amongst this freshman heavy second unit.

PG/SG: #3 Dj Carton 6-2 190lbs (Freshman) – The freshman point guard, who committed to the Buckeyes over more traditional basketball powerhouses has buckeye fans very excited. Head Coach Chris Holtmam praised him after an exhibition win over Cedarville “It’s apparent that he’s explosive in transition, and some of that, I think time will tell,”. Only time will tell when he will join the starting lineup and become one of the best point guards in the Big Ten.

SM/PF:#32 EJ Liddel 6-6 235 lbs (Freshman)- The reigning, “Mr Basketball”, in the state of Illinois, Liddel impressive skill set and pedigree for winning make him a must watch player.  He was an under the radar recruit and is hungry to prove doubters wrong and compete at the Big Ten level. If he can get acclimated the offense he take some pressure of Wesson to be an inside scoring threat.

SM/PF- #0 Alonzo Gaffney 6-10 200lbs (Freshman) – The 6-10 forward has drawn comparisons to Kevin Durant due to his lanky frame and knack for scoring the ball. It remains to be seen whether he is given an opportunity to help contribute. In preseason workouts, it was reported that Gaffney was “Turning heads left and right”. If he can provide a consistent scoring punch look for Gaffney to sneak his way into the starting lineup

Injury Report

Date Pos Player Injury Status
11/05/19 G Musa Jallow Ankle is out indefinitely
11/05/19 F Justin Ahrens Back is Doubtful Wednesday vs Cincinnati

Realistic Expectations 

  • Compete for a Big Ten championship
  • Top 4 seed in Big ten conference tournament 
  • Beat Michigan (Always)

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