Ohio State men's basketball | Chris Holtmann talks Musa Jallow, Andre Wesson and more on radio show

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]

Two days removed from a slump-busting win at Nebraska, Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann hosted his weekly call-in radio show Monday night.

In case you couldn’t listen, here are the highlights.

*Holtmann said he put Musa Jallow into the starting lineup because of the length he brings to the court.

“I just felt our lack of length across the board has hurt us,” he said. “There’s not a whole lot we can do with Kyle (Young) being out, so one of the ways I felt we could potentially improve in that area was playing a bigger, longer guy that gives us some defensive versatility.

He’s also earned those minutes, Holtmann said.

“What he’s done is he’s rebounded and defended and made open shots, and that’s really what he has to do for us,” he said. “He got ahead of the ball early in the game and C.J. (Jackson) passed it and he finished. He kept a couple balls alive. Now he needs to continue to do those things.”

*Holtmann took a submitted question asking about his coaching influences.

“My probably most significant mentor in coaching is my college coach, Paul Patterson, who to this day I still have a very close relationship with,” he said. “He has been influential in every decision I’ve made. Obviously my own dad has influenced my coaching career. As I’ve gotten into coaching there’s a few guys I lean on, Brad Stevens and John Groce and even guys I got to know when I was in the Big East like Jay Wright.”

*Since it’s a 9 p.m. game Tuesday night, the Buckeyes aren’t traveling until the morning of the game to avoid cutting down on having too much downtime during the day.

*Coming from Butler, which was obviously a basketball-focused school, Holtmann was asked what the transition to a football-heavy school like Ohio State is like.

“Flip it,” he said. “It’s not exactly flipped because Buckeye Nation has incredibly passionate fans in a number of different sports, and really knowledgeable fans. I’ve said growing up in Lexington Kentucky there’s only one thing I can compare Ohio State football to, and I was one of those crazy good fans this year with every first down. It’s a great, passionate fan base and big. Butler’s fans are terrific. It’s a great arena, but one of the things I’ve been impressed with here is how much all over the world Buckeye Nation supports their programs.”

It’s led to changes in recruiting, specifically when recruits are brought to campus on official and unofficial visits.

“At Butler we brought them in usually weekdays during the fall because we weren’t bringing them to a Saturday football game,” he said. “Here you’re utilizing those Saturdays. You’re bringing those guys in on Saturdays. The biggest the football game, the more people seem interested in visiting on a certain day – people we didn’t even know we were recruiting, to be honest.”

*Holtmann said he’s shortened practices recently because he’s been concerned about the team’s overall fatigue and mentioned the team’s summer trip to Spain.

“It wasn’t a huge grind, but it’s more days in the gym, so we’ve tried to shorten it,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see in these next two weeks. I did think we looked tired against Maryland. I’m not saying that’s the reason we lost, but I’m going back and wondering did I do something with our guys leading up to that that was too much for them?”

*Look for the Buckeyes to continue to play the zone defense they showed at Nebraska.

“I’m not saying we’re going to play it that much against every team,” he said. “I do expect us to play it, maybe in every game. How much will depend on where we’re at. It’s something we’ve been working on since the beginning of the year, more in the last couple of weeks and definitely more since Kyle Young’s injury.”

*Andre Wesson has picked up his scoring in the last two games.

“I think he’s just played with confidence within the offense as much as anything,” Holtmann said. “I think he’s also been good playing in a little bit of a smaller lineup. The thing with Andre is, hopefully with most people we can potentially take advantage of playing smaller because he can play bigger guys. He’s good at it. He’s smart enough and physical enough if he can stay out of foul trouble.”

*Holtmann also relayed a story about a scary flight experience he had while at Butler after a loss.

“When the plane dropped, my ears started popping,” he said. “I was breaking down film and so angry with how we played and then (an assistant) looks at me and was like, did you feel the plane just drop? It wasn’t a second later before the plane goes completely dark, the masks come down, the sounds on the plane start beeping and she’s (the flight attendant) saying, ‘Keep them on, keep them on.’ We had assistant coaches texting their wives saying not sure what’s happening, what’s going to happen, l love you. I didn’t text my wife so that made me look terrible. I couldn’t find my phone.


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