July means a lot of time spent in cramped, sweaty gyms for college basketball coaches. With so much time being spent on the recruiting trail, Chris Holtmann found himself engaged in plenty of conversations about his new job at Ohio State.
Not all of them were initiated by him, either.
“I had some people who would corner me and have their opinions about our team and why we struggled last year,” Holtmann said Tuesday night. “That was interesting to hear, and those are conversations I’m going to have with our guys. I wasn’t even necessarily trying to pick their brain — in some cases, it was stuff they volunteered.”
Holtmann’s comments came after an event titled, “An Evening with Coach Holtmann.” The part get-to-know-you, part sales-pitch event saw Holtmann address about 825 season-ticket holders from a stage erected at center court at Value City Arena.
The coach confirmed to the crowd the Buckeyes have added Andrew Dakich as a graduate transfer. The son of college basketball analyst and former coach Dan Dakich, Andrew played for Michigan as a walk-on before being added to scholarship while redshirting last year as a senior.
“We’re excited about the addition of Andrew,” Holtmann said, adding that he has already been at a couple of workouts.
The roster is nearly complete. Former walk-on Joey Lane will remain on scholarship, Holtmann said, and the recent additions of Musa Jallow and Dakich give the Buckeyes 11 players for the season.
In addition, Holtmann confirmed that Connor Fulton, who was to be a walk-on at Butler, has also transferred to Ohio State and will fulfill the same role. A three-star shooting guard prospect according to ESPN, the 6-4, 170-pound Fulton is from Draper, Utah.
Ohio State is also in the running for combo guard Eric Ayala from Putnam Science Academy in Wilmington, Delaware, who could follow Jallow’s plan, graduate early and reclassify to the class of 2017.
Holtmann couldn’t talk specifics per NCAA rules but said adding any players via that route would almost certainly have to take place within the next two weeks. A decision is expected from Ayala shortly on whether he will stick with the class of 2018, but if he doesn’t the four-star prospect is believed to be down to Ohio State and Oregon.
Holtmann also formally introduced former East Carolina assistant coach Mike Netti as assistant to the head coach.
One player who remains not in the plans is former point guard JaQuan Lyle, who in April quit the team for a second straight season. When a fan said she had heard that Lyle was in Columbus and interested in rejoining the team, Holtmann reiterated that he’s not interested in making that happen — and he’s evidently not alone.
“That’s not something that we have seriously considered at this point,” he said. “We’ve also involved our entire team in some of those decisions that we make. Obviously they were here and I wasn’t, but that’s our current decision.”
Lyle was arrested and charged with three misdemeanors after an incident in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana, in mid-May. He has been placed into a one-year diversionary program.