Ohio State was the first school to offer Ashanti Abshaw after she announced she would seek a graduate transfer opportunity in March.
Ohio State is where the three-year Cleveland State guard is headed.
Abshaw announced Tuesday she’ll play out her final year of eligibility with the Buckeyes as a graduate transfer, putting an end to a recruitment process she said at times shocked and overwhelmed her.
“Coming from a mid-major to a big school like that is mind-blowing,” the 5-feet-9 forward told The Dispatch on Tuesday. “Coaches were calling but then I was still trying to finish school. I had like multiple projects still left, papers, tests, so I kind of put the recruiting process in the backseat and then focused on finishing school strong. I wasn’t really trying to overwhelm myself with the process.”
In choosing Ohio State, the Cleveland Heights native said, “First and foremost, it’s home.”
“It’s always good to play, basically, for your hometown. Seeing the campus, it was different from Cleveland State. It was mind-blowing just to see the campus, the gym and just all the differences,” she said. “My eyes just opened, just looking at everything. I should say, talking with coach (Kevin McGuff) about the offense they run, it’s going to fit my style of play and it’s going to get me ready for the next level, so that was a big factor in why I chose there.”
Abshaw was the leading scorer for a Vikings’ team that went 19-11 in 2017-18, averaging 18.5 points. She also had 74 steals and was second on the team with 4.2 rebounds per game, but acknowledged she’d like to see her three-point shooting percentage —28.8 percent last season — rise back up to her career high of 32.9 percent as a freshman. It’s a point she said McGuff, too, has brought up.
But Abshaw said she grew during her time at Cleveland State after arriving as more of a one-dimensional player.
“Now leaving Cleveland State I can almost do all the things that I put on my list,” she said. “I made my shot better, got my handle better, just working on my craft constantly and I can say it’s been a lot of growth.”
A jump from a non-Power Five program to one of the Big Ten’s biggest programs won’t be easy, but it’s one she will make with three other graduate transfers. Adreana Miller of LaSalle, Carly Santoro of Bowling Green and Najah Queenland of Pacific all are set to play a grad transfer season with the Buckeyes as four of seven new players joining the Ohio State program.
Abshaw said she enjoys change and looks forward to the one she’ll make when she heads to Columbus next month.
“It’s honestly one of the most exciting things I’ve experienced in my life,” she said. “The change of playing at a higher level and just playing in front of bigger crowds, I’m just excited. I’m ready for it to start already.”