It didn’t take long for Jimmy Sotos to find the fit he was looking for.
After playing all but two games during three seasons at Bucknell, Sotos put his name into the NCAA transfer portal Friday with the hopes of finding a Power Five program where he could close his collegiate career. Monday, Sotos announced his commitment to Ohio State after having entertained interest from Gonzaga, Minnesota, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Xavier, among others.
It’s been a bit of a whirlwind, but Sotos said he’s confident he made the right choice after speaking with Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann and assistant Ryan Pedon multiple times each day since entering the portal.
“We hit it off right away,” Sotos told The Dispatch. “I was able to talk to some guys that I knew that are well-connected in NCAA basketball and I heard a lot of great things about the coaching staff there. They’re offering me a chance to come in, it’s a two-year scholarship, sit one, play one and when I’m eligible to play a chance to be a starting point guard. It seemed like a perfect scenario and I definitely wanted to see that come through.”
As mentioned, Sotos will sit out the 2020-21 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. He has one year of eligibility remaining, unless the NCAA changes its transfer rules.
Sotos’ addition moves the Buckeyes back closer to a full roster for next season after Luther Muhammad entered the transfer portal Sunday. One spot remains open should center Kaleb Wesson opt to return for a senior year.
In 100 career games at Bucknell, Sotos averaged 8.1 points, 3.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game. He has 77 career starts and has started all but one game during the last two seasons. In 34 games, all starts, last season, he averaged a career-high 11.5 points.
Unable to visit campus, Sotos said he grew familiar with Ohio State through “A lot of Google searches and just a lot of trust. I wasn’t able to meet the guys. I wasn’t able to see the campus up close or see the locker room and all that stuff. At this point in my career, I kind of know what’s important to me. I want to go somewhere where basketball is the main thing. I want to win and I’m really excited to go to Ohio State and try to bring some championships to Columbus.”
Sotos said he didn’t know the Ohio State staff prior to his recruitment but he sought out voices around college basketball who did. That included LaPhonso Ellis, a member of ESPN’s College Gameday crew and the father of Walter Ellis, Soto’s teammate at Bucknell.
A native of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, Sotos has been to Value City Arena before. The Buckeyes fended off an upset challenge from the Bison on Dec. 15, 2018, a 73-71 win in which Sotos had 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists. That game is also memorable for Andre Wesson breaking two teeth but returning to the game.
“That was a really physical game,” he said. “We were winning at halftime and I remember the guys, we were all ready to go and the second half they started to go on a run. It was going back and forth a little bit, but we had a shot to win it at the end. We were down two and we didn’t get up a good look and we ended up losing. I just remember it was a hard-fought game and it was fun.”