The Ohio State men’s basketball team is looking into its past to potentially shore up its future.
On Tuesday, The Dispatch has confirmed, the Buckeyes will host Daniel Giddens on a visit as a graduate transfer as they look to add depth and size to their roster for the 2019-20 season. Giddens, who has spent the past three seasons at Alabama, initially signed with and played for Ohio State as a freshman before transferring out of the program following the 2015-16 season.
He wasn’t alone — Giddens was part of a five-man recruiting class that all ultimately left the program before two seasons. Austin Grandstaff left Ohio State 10 games into the season, while Mickey Mitchell and A.J. Harris joined Giddens in departing after the season. JaQuan Lyle left the team after his sophomore season.
During his season at Ohio State, Giddens averaged 3.8 points and 3.6 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game, playing in 33 games. His game-saving dive for a loose ball helped secure a win against No. 4-ranked Kentucky in the CBSSports Classic, a play that had coach Thad Matta saying afterward that he’d like a statue built of Giddens sacrificing his body on that play.
At Alabama, Giddens averaged 4.2 points in 34 games during his redshirt sophomore season but averaged only 1.9 points in 14 appearances this past season. As a graduate transfer, he would have immediate eligibility and could play one season.
His father, Harvey Giddens, declined to comment on the visit and on why his son left Ohio State in the first place, but spoke highly of what the experience at Alabama taught him.
“Daniel’s a mature individual,” he said. “Compared to the time you saw him at Ohio State to where he is now, of course it’s a drastic, night-and-day difference, a kid to an adult. You can let the positive attributes speak for themselves. He’s a great kid with high character. I’m proud of my son in that domain.”
As for what his son is looking for in a school, Harvey Giddens said, “He just wants to go to a place where he can pretty much demonstrate his skill set. I’m just speaking as a parent, but where he can make a strong contribution. That’s all he’s looking for. He wants to be the consummate, ultimate teammate. He’s a kid with great character. He’s doing the best he can. I’m just letting him navigate his own ship.”
The Buckeyes have significant need for another post player after losing Micah Potter to transfer before the start of the regular season and freshman Jaedon LeDee’s decision to transfer following the season. Kaleb Wesson will enter his junior season as the established center, but the only backup options are forwards Kyle Young and Andre Wesson, both of whom are better-suited playing either small or power forward. Giddens would provide an established, physical experience on the interior.
Ohio State is also recruiting Ibrahima Diallo, a 7-foot member of the class of 2019 who played for Napa (California) Prolific Prep as a senior. He is unranked by the major recruiting services. The Buckeyes have two available scholarships for next season and could add both Giddens and Diallo.