Chris Holtmann is at the office today, but he’s in pretty select company.
During his final weekly radio show of the season, the Ohio State men’s basketball coach said the staff is primarily working remotely after the season came to an abrupt end last Thursday with the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It plunged the Buckeyes, and everyone else, abruptly into an offseason full of unknown.
"We’re going to have a remote staff meeting so we can lay out what needs to happen in the next week," Holtmann said. "I told the staff to stay at home. We’re staying in touch with our players via FaceTime and phone calls."
The same level of communication will be maintained with recruits, Holtmann said, as the staff is not allowed to be out recruiting.
"With recruiting, we’re very much staying in touch with guys over FaceTime and phone calls," he said. "That doesn’t need to change, but we cannot go off campus. It’s a complete dead period. Believe that’s the right decision, but certainly we can still communicate over the phone and that’s what we’re doing."
The Buckeyes typically go through exit meetings as soon as the season ends, which Holtmann pointed out is typically two or three weeks from now. The coaches have had some of those conversations already as players have been sent home as Ohio State has closed its residence halls. They’ve also been in contact with incoming freshmen Gene Brown and Zed Key, who are scheduled to arrive in June.
Monday, Holtmann said he had lunch with freshman E.J. Liddell before he headed home.
"You’re doing stuff like that when you can, and obviously some exit meetings to talk through the season," he said. "We’ll get into next year and expectations for the offseason with them here in the next few weeks to a month."
The looming roster question concerns junior center Kaleb Wesson, a second-team all-Big Ten selection who entered the NBA draft process last season but opted to return for another season. Holtmann praised Wesson’s development from last season to this, citing it as the reason he’s started to appear on NBA draft projections.
"It’s going to lead to certainly some opportunities for him," Holtmann said. "He’s been on a number of draft boards. At this time, what I’m going to do is be available to (the family) and talk to them and advise them and help them through this process, but they’ve been through it once. We’ll support him as they go through it until he makes a decision."
Holtmann said Wesson is preparing for draft workouts.
It’s just one of several potential roster moves for the offseason. The Buckeyes currently are one above the scholarship limit for next season, and Wesson isn’t the only one to have decisions to make.
"We all know in college basketball it’s always a fluid time of year," Holtmann said. "Rosters change. I suspect that we will look to continue to add to this roster. We have pending decisions here with a couple young men, in particular with Kaleb determining his path here.
"We’ve got to see what happens in our scholarship situation in terms of adding people to this roster right now. Some of that’s got to work itself out, but we’re always abreast of the transfer market."
Holtmann said the Buckeyes will play North Carolina in the CBSSports Classic in Brooklyn next season in addition to participating in the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas. Ohio State will host Akron during the nonconference schedule, he said, in addition to the ACC-Big Ten Challenge and a possible date in the Gavitt Games.