The latest Ohio State men’s basketball player to be made available for summer interviews, a new-look Musa Jallow, sat at a table Wednesday afternoon at Value City Arena.
Now a year wiser after graduating from high school early and joining the Buckeyes for coach Chris Holtmann’s first season, Jallow sported clear-rimmed glasses and a fresh-looking haircut to go with a right-nostril piercing.
It was a more professional look for Jallow, and it underlined why he received a call to participate in a team camp for the United States U18 team earlier this month in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He ultimately didn’t make the cut for the FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship roster, but as the only player in camp with a year of college experience, he brought a comfort level to the proceedings that was unmatched on the roster.
>> Video: Ohio State sophomore Musa Jallow on his Team USA camp experience
Now the hope is that he can take the experience and build on it for his sophomore season at Ohio State.
“One thing that the (USA) coaches told coach Holtmann about is they loved how ready I was to lead the group and how I was able to pick up the things that they were coaching, just because I had been through it and I had the experience over the other guys,” Jallow said. “Coach (Bill) Self had the practices at a pretty high pace, which is how we practice here. It’s a lot different from high school or AAU practice, so some of the guys weren’t ready for that.
“I was quicker to act on that stuff and pick it up and coach the guys with it.”
While in camp, Jallow had the chance to interact with a handful of prospects in the class of 2019 who are being recruited by the Buckeyes, he said. Among them was DJ Carton, a four-star point guard from Bettendorf, Iowa, who also did not make the final roster.
Jallow said he didn’t get too much feedback from Self, who coaches Kansas, on why he didn’t make the team because he didn’t want to bother him. An ankle injury that bothered him late last season could have been a contributing factor, but Jallow downplayed it and said he wouldn’t use the situation as an excuse.
It’s part of the maturation process that Jallow hopes will lead to a breakthrough sophomore year. He started 10 games early in his freshman season, but he averaged only 1.6 points in 10.2 minutes per Big Ten game. In the final six games of the season, Jallow did not play against Penn State in a Big Ten tournament loss and totaled only 23 minutes in the other five games. Ten of his 28 conference points scored came in a road win against Purdue.
“Definitely this year I want to be more consistent,” he said. “I want to be able to produce on a consistent basis and have something I can hang my hat on for every single game.”