Ohio State men's basketball | One 2019 signee nearly made McDonald's Game roster

Adam Jardy
Ohio State Buckeyes Head Coach Chris Holtmann speaks with C.J. Jackson (3) during the game in the first half during the game against High Point Panthers at Value City Arena in Columbus on December 29, 2018. [Samantha Madar/Dispatch]

For a fifth straight year, no Ohio State commitment is scheduled to take part in the McDonald’s All-American Game. Rosters for the annual event showcasing some of the top high school seniors were unveiled Thursday afternoon, and no Buckeyes were included.

But that almost wasn’t the case. As he looked ahead to Ohio State’s game Saturday at Nebraska, coach Chris Holtmann was asked if he was disappointed not to see DJ Carton, Alonzo Gaffney or E.J. Liddell make the cut for the game. It turns out, they were close.

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“We had gotten word that a couple of them were right there,” Holtmann said. “I think they had went to like a final 30, and one of them was in the final 30. That, and the Jordan Brand game, are two great postseason honors and we’ll see what happens in the Jordan Brand game. I thought a couple of them might have a legitimate shot and they did and one of them was really close but never know what all goes into that.

The McDonald’s game will take place March 27 in Atlanta, with the girls’ game tipping off at 5 p.m. and the boys’ game following at 7. Both games will air live on ESPN2.

The last Ohio State player to be selected for the game was D’Angelo Russell, who was a participant in the 2014 game. He is the only Buckeye in the game since the 2011 game featured both Shannon Scott and Amir Williams.

Ohio has not had a participant in the game since Carlton Bragg (Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph) and Luke Kennard (Franklin) were part of the 2015 game. Seven players from the state were included among the nominees.

In the latest rankings released by ESPN earlier this week, all three Ohio State commitments are ranked among the nation’s top 40 for the class of 2019. Carton, a five-star prospect, is the highest-rated Buckeye signee at No. 26. Gaffney (No. 35) and Liddell (36) are both four-star recruits.


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