Two days after a home win against Rutgers, Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann hosted his weekly radio call-in show Monday night.
In case you couldn’t listen, here are the highlights.
*Penn State comes to Ohio State this Thursday, and it will give the Buckeyes a chance to avenge three losses to the Nittany Lions last season.
“I’ve had a lot of nice people remind me of that in the offseason, too,” he said. “They are a team that they match up with us really well. Obviously we’re different, they’re different, we lost more in terms of bodies than they did. They lost Tony Carr, we lost four seniors. They also lost a senior shooter.
“They’ve played really, really good basketball here as of late. Should’ve beat Purdue. Had a tough call there late. Had a number of games that went down to the wire. They are very, very capable and have shown that over and over.”
*A submitted question asked about recruiting kids from Ohio.
“It’s a question that I’ve gotten a lot,” Holtmann said. “We’ve said that Ohio is going to be our No. 1 priority in recruiting. That does not mean that every Ohio kid that’s good enough that we offer is automatically come to Ohio State. They’ve got to want that. It’s got to be right for them. It’s got to be right for us.
“In some cases kids develop at a quicker rate. Some young men get upset when you don’t offer as early as you need to. Sometimes there’s more to it than meets the eye. Having said that, we’re excited about this first class or two that’s been made up of guys from Ohio and our region. We’re aggressively recruiting the state in the coming years.
There’s some kids that they just want to go out of state. That happens in every sport here. I know we’re going to get our fair share, I really believe that.”
*As for offering early versus later, Holtmann said the staff has a general guideline.
“As soon as we know they’re good enough, we’ll typically wait until their freshmen year,” he said. “You want to make sure that academically they’re projecting to be a qualifier. Then there’s some guys you’re keeping tabs on really through their senior year. You try to stay patient because there are some kids you know are late developers.”
*Holtmann reiterated that he had no real problems with how the Buckeyes reacted during a mid-game incident at Michigan last week.
“When I was in the moment, my focus was trying to pull my guys away from that incident,” he said. “I didn’t get a feel for what went into it and what was said. Then when I watched it I came away really saying I thought Kaleb and our other guys showed great poise, because those guys put their hands on them. You don’t put your hands on another player ever. Ever. He showed great restraint in that moment.”
*On the injury report, Holtmann said everybody has typical banged-up pains but nothing serious. Kyle Young continues to progress with his stress fracture and said he’s still “day-to-day, week-to-week.”
The key to Young’s return will be when he gets back to more practice, which could be as soon as this week. Then it will be determined how much he can do once he’s back on the court.
*Senior guard C.J. Jackson had just one turnover and graduate transfer Keyshawn Woods didn’t have any in the win against Rutgers.
“He’s got to keep improving in that area,” Holtmann said of Jackson. “He cannot have games where he has three, four, five turnovers as a senior point guard. He did a great job making shots. I thought he struggled defensively early but he came back and played with the effort we wanted him to.”
As for Woods, “I thought he was good as well. Those two older guards gave us, along with Kaleb, some balance within our offense and they stabilized us. It was really good to see Keyshawn make those plays.”
*A submitted question asked Holtmann about having Andrew Dakich on the coaching staff.
“Miserable,” he said. “It’s been one of the greatest mistakes of my coaching career. No, it’s been tremendous. As all of us know who’ve watched Andrew, he’s got a tremendous feel for the game. He’s bright. He’s curious. He is not afraid to share his opinion – we all know that. He’s a basketball junkie. We’ve loved having him around. He’s been a great addition.
Holtmann said the staff knew it would be a two-to-three-year process to rebuild the roster. He was looking for a guy who had been in a winning program who understood what goes into winning and losing.
“He added value because he already understood (that),” he said. “We never anticipated that Andrew Dakich would play the role that he did last year. He became an invaluable member of our team and a huge part of our success.”
*As a graduate assistant, Dakich isn’t the only former player on the staff. Scoonie Penn is in his second year as director of player development.
“They’re both tremendous to be around,” Holtmann said. “We talk about energy-givers and takers … both those guys are huge energy-givers. That’s the beauty of both of those guys. They’re both pretty outspoken and opinionated and we love that about them. They add a lot to the group.”
*Holtmann said he was texting with D’Angelo Russell on Saturday about the win against Rutgers and Russell’s all-star nod.
*Holtmann was asked if the men’s staff talks with the women’s staff to share or suggest ideas.
“We do,” he said. “You’re always trying to learn and swap ideas. The game is different, but there are a lot of similarities. Kevin Guff’s a great coach here. He does a fantastic job. They’ve got a great staff. We’ve enjoyed interacting with them and swapping some ideas. I wouldn’t say we’ve done it all the time, but there’s a lot of times we toss things against each other.”
When it was suggested that Holtmann’s daughter, Nora, might be a basketball player, he quickly shot that idea down.
“No,” he said. “No. Right away. I’m definitive in that. I would like for her to, but when we play ball in the house and she runs the other way, she’s telling me early on she doesn’t have interest in that. I would love for her to. Right now she’s swimming. She tried soccer, didn’t love soccer, but she’s swimming right now.
“You want your kids to be involved in extra-curricular activities. We’re trying to figure out what that is right now. She thinks hers is the iPad and we’re trying to explain to her that’s not the case.”