Ohio State men's basketball | Chris Holtmann says Buckeyes might not be done with 2019 recruiting

Adam Jardy
Coach Chris Holtmann said Ohio State could add a freshman signee or a graduate transfer to its three-man 2019 class. [Adam Cairns]

College basketball recruiting never stops, even for a class that has appeared to be complete for months.

In November, Ohio State signed a three-man 2019 recruiting class that has held steady among the best in the nation. DJ Carton, Alonzo Gaffney and E.J. Liddell will all be Buckeyes next season, leaving one scholarship available should coach Chris Holtmann choose to use it.

Wednesday afternoon, he said he might.

“We certainly could, and that could come in the form of another freshmen or it could come in the form of a graduate transfer,” Holtmann said. “That’s certainly a possibility. We’re, as we always are, actively looking at different possibilities that we feel good about. It’s certainly a possibility, for sure.”

Holtmann said there’s no timeline other than the obvious as to when the Buckeyes might or might not decide to add to the 2019 class. Coaches can comment only on players who have officially signed with teams, which means he can’t discuss one of the most intriguing remaining possibilities for the class.

The Buckeyes have continued to recruit Olentangy Liberty’s Ben Roderick, an unranked small forward in the composite database but the area’s leading scorer. Roderick has been an unofficial visitor at Ohio State this season, and Holtmann was recently spotted watching him play in person.

Should the Buckeyes not add anyone else for 2019, they are currently slated to have two available spots for the 2020 class. Although it currently has no members, Holtmann said his confidence is high that it will be more than just a one-member class and pointed out that projecting a roster two years down the road is tricky.

The challenge, Holtmann has pointed out, is trying to recruit a standout class after a top-10 class. The 2020-21 Buckeyes, as currently constructed, would be experienced with four seniors, four juniors and three sophomores, seemingly indicating that opportunities for early playing time could be limited.

“It’s always a great challenge to follow up a great recruiting class with another great recruiting class, but that’s the challenge in front of us right now,” Holtmann said. “That ‘20 class is very important as we build this thing. Your first three or four classes are real critical.”

That can be a tough sell on the recruiting trail. Most of the 2020 class is uncommitted at this point, and that won’t start changing for many players until new offers are earned during the upcoming AAU season. This week, Holtmann was also spotted watching Cleveland Brush center John Hughley, a member of the class.

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In addition, the Buckeyes remain linked to a number of high-profile names from within the state and elsewhere.

“I think the net is maybe a little bit wider (in 2020), but I feel good about the guys that we’re on and guys that we have built and established relationships with,” Holtmann said. “I also think that’s pretty fluid as well. There’s certainly some guys we’re deep with that have been priorities for us almost since we got the job. I feel good about that, but that’s pretty fluid as well. There could be somebody right now that we’ve just evaluated once that could end up being a real priority for us as we get down the stretch here.

“Recruiting is pretty fluid but there’s some constants in there of guys that we have evaluated, that I’ve evaluated, that we’re in full pursuit of.”


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