Ohio State wrapped up its slate of summer practices by inviting the public to watch roughly 45 minutes’ worth of Tuesday evening’s session at Value City Arena.
The tenor of the summer workouts won’t compare to what the Buckeyes will encounter when fall practices begin, but the practice serves as a benchmark to start gathering information on the 2018-19 team.
These aren’t final determinations on players, nor are they guarantees for upcoming success. They are just one glimpse into one of 10 practices more than three months from the first game of the season.
Enjoy them anyway.
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• I’ve always considered Justin Ahrens as a likely small forward and Kyle Young as a power forward and a possible Keita Bates-Diop replacement. I was surprised to see Ahrens and Young frequently matched up with each other during the five-on-five portions of practice.
• Musa Jallow shaved his head and looks like a totally different person. He’s still possibly the most athletic person on the team.
• During a drill designed to force the defense to scramble, freshman guard Luther Muhammad was able to sift through the chaos, call out who was pushing the ball upcourt and immediately manned up on him while his teammates sorted themselves out.
• After his hedging while defending a pick-and-roll situation forced the other team to turn the ball over, Micah Potter drew praise from the coaching staff.
• On one possession, Kaleb Wesson caught the ball on the left elbow, gave a shot fake, put the ball on the floor, drove the lane and finished with a right-handed layup. I’ve never seen him do that before, and it spoke to how coach Chris Holtmann later would say he’s encouraged Wesson to continue to develop his game.
• During a quick timeout after a foul, C.J. Jackson quickly gathered his team up to go over their plan. Veteran move, and something the other team did not do.
• The banter was enjoyable. Florida State transfer CJ Walker told his teammates as they prepared to play defense, “Let’s get a stop right here.” Joey Lane, the guy he was guarding, didn’t miss a beat when he deadpanned, “No stops.” Maybe you had to be there, but it was funny in the moment.
• On one fast break, Muhammad threw an alley-oop from the three-point line that was finished on the opposite block by Keyshawn Woods for a layup.
• Muhammad and fellow freshman guard Duane Washington Jr. pressured each other up and down the court on a number of possessions. These are going to be fun battles to watch in the coming years.
• Jaedon LeDee is physically impressive. I didn’t notice him as much during the scrimmaging, but he does not look like a freshman. He did have a strong block on a Jackson drive. Equally impressive was how high Jackson seemed to get as he attempted the layup.
• Washington calmly stepped into a three-pointer when left alone at the top of the circle. Ahrens struggled with his shot and looked to be adjusting to the pace of the game.
• Walker had the most impressive individual play that I saw. Matched up with Washington, he stole the ball from around the three-point line, used his body to shield his dribble from a chasing Washington, drove the lane at the other end and finished in traffic with an acrobatic layup. I also saw him pull Muhammad aside early on and offer some advice.
• Good ball movement. From pretty much everybody.
• Former Buckeyes Clark Kellogg, Jon Diebler and Aaron Craft were there at the beginning. Athletic director Gene Smith was there, too.
• When practice ended and the players walked toward the fans to cheer for them, Washington got an impromptu “O-H!” chant going. When Holtmann got the microphone, he asked if it was Washington that got the chant started before stating his lack of surprise that it was him. His high school teammates called him “The Mayor” for his ability to assimilate into their program and make a quick impact, and those attributes seem to have followed him to Ohio State.