About 100 of Ohio State’s most-devoted men’s basketball fans got one of the best early looks at Chris Holtmann’s program of the entire preseason Wednesday evening.
For about an hour, students who found their way to Value City Arena were treated to pizza and an up-close look at a Buckeyes team two days away from opening the regular season Friday night against Robert Morris. And while they mingled, took photos and enjoyed the world’s best food, the Buckeyes went through about 10 minutes of five-on-five scrimmaging, albeit in a limited fashion.
With the recruited scholarship players split into two teams, the Buckeyes would play a pair of possessions before breaking to receive some instruction and coaching for a new situation. The teams were somewhat mixed, and the rosters were as follows:
Scarlet – Keita Bates-Diop, Andre Wesson, Kam Williams, Andrew Dakich and Kaleb Wesson
Gray – C.J. Jackson, Musa Jallow, Micah Potter, Jae’Sean Tate and Kyle Young
That meant that in man-to-man defense, the following players were assigned to guard each other:
This is the third time the Buckeyes have held some sort of open practice. Here are a few observations from today, with those other sessions in mind:
1. At Big Ten media day at Madison Square Garden in New York, Tate told me that Jallow, a freshman, had been the team’s best rebounder to that point of the preseason. I got a glimpse of that today, when he out-jumped Williams for an offensive rebound and then flew through the lane for a defensive one on the ensuing possession.
Then, after Jallow came up with that second rebound, he turned the ball over. On another play, he made a fantastic backdoor cut to get open in the paint but then threw the pass away. Both were more reminders of the athleticism and natural ability Jallow has shown and also that he’s 17, should still be a senior in high school and has much to learn. There is a lot of potential there, but there is going to be a learning curve for Jallow.
2. Kaleb Wesson’s skill in the post is translating to the collegiate level. He most likely will battle foul trouble more often not this year, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen from the Westerville South product on the block. On multiple occasions, he’s simply backed Micah Potter down and spun one way or the other and finished. Wesson basically got what he wanted against the College of Wooster, too, but fouled out against the Fighting Scots – and in a closed scrimmage the week before against Xavier.
3. Andrew Dakich will play some important minutes on this team. If the graduate transfer is on the court for more than half the game, that’s not a good scenario for the Buckeyes. But in around 10 minutes a game, Dakich can use his knowledge of the game and enthusiasm to deflect passes – like he did today – and keep his teammates motivated.
4. Jae’Sean Tate is still learning the point guard position, and that’s probably to be expected. Today, as the Buckeyes were running their offense without defenders, everything stopped and Bates-Diop grabbed Tate and pointed to where he was supposed to be. Then on the next run-through, Jackson paid close attention and offered Tate some help on where to be.
5. Oh, and Tate remains as dangerous as ever with the ball on the block. In my mind, he remains among the nation’s best players at using his body to succeed against much bigger players.
6. After Jackson forced a Dakich turnover with some quick hands, Young was the first player on the floor. He also blocked a Williams floater on a fast break.
After shooting drills and some more positional work, the Buckeyes wound things down by trying to score a set number of points against the clock. They were evidently successful:
Video! The #Buckeyes end practice in style.
Then Tate and junior Joey Lane addressed the students:
Hear #Buckeyes Jae’Sean Tate and Joey Lane address the students after Wednesday’s practice.
And when it was all said and done, everyone posed for a photo.
#Buckeyes students pose with the team after Wednesday’s open practice.