Ohio State men's basketball | Chris Holtmann: C.J. Jackson's status 'up in the air' for Iowa game

Adam Jardy
Ohio State Buckeyes guard C.J. Jackson (3) steals the ball from Rutgers Scarlet Knights forward Ron Harper Jr. (24) during the 2nd half of their game at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio on February 2, 2019. [Kyle Robertson]

Two days removed from a loss at Maryland and one day before hosting Iowa, Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann hosted his weekly radio show.

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

*At interviews before practice Monday, Holtmann told reporters that senior C.J. Jackson practiced Sunday and seemed likely to play Tuesday night against Iowa. On his radio show after practice, he sounded less certain.

“I told the media today it was going to depend on practice,” Holtmann said Monday evening. “I would say right now it’s up in the air. He was not able to do as much as I was hoping he’d be able to do, but we’ll see. I don’t know what else to say beyond that. It’s kind of hour-by-hour right now. He can’t hurt himself by playing. That’s the big thing you’re trying to make sure. It’s just in a lot of ways a pain tolerance thing for him.”

If he can’t go, Keyshawn Woods would be the primary option.

“It’s really fluid with C.J. right now,” Holtmann said. “If he can’t go, it’ll be a combination of Duane Washington, Keyshawn Woods and there might be an opportunity for Joey Lane.”

*A submitted question asked Holtmann about potentially adding to the roster before next season.

“We very well may add another player,” he said. “I don’t think it’ll be two, but it could be in the form of potentially a high school player. We are recruiting a few of those. Potentially a four-year transfer that would have to sit out a year, and then potentially a grad transfer. We’re kind of looking at all of those options. The spring has become an incredibly busy time, so as soon as the season ends, you’re busy for the next 6-8 weeks. I’m gone five days a week and a lot of it is because you’re certainly recruiting two or three classes at once but you’re also looking to add to your team.

“If we can add someone who will help, we’ll do that.”

*According to analyst Ron Stokes, Woods was in the gym more than an hour after practice getting in some extra shots. The graduate transfer had 10 first-half points at Maryland and carried a significant role with C.J. Jackson unavailable due to injury.

“He’s had a great approach,” Holtmann said of Woods. “He’s hungry to play in the postseason. We really worried about his body because he’s played a lot of minutes and we don’t win some of those early games without him. Really need him down the stretch and depending on how C.J. is going to respond to this injury. He had good pop to him. He had some errors defensively but had good pop, good life, good leadership. I love him as a kid. He’s not naturally the most gifted athlete, so him taking care of his body and getting rest, which he does, is really important to him.

In the game, “I thought he was good offensively, ready to go, aggressive. We ran a few things for him where he got some open looks. I thought he did a really good job, and in the second half as well. There just weren’t quite as many opportunities for him.”

*Kaleb Wesson has improved at staying out of foul trouble recently, but that will be put to the test Tuesday.

“Iowa really attacked him last time,” Holtmann said. “We’ll see how he responds to that. He got some atrocious calls in that game. I mean, I don’t know how else to put it, looking back at it. Anyway. I think for him, he’s made some smarter decisions. He deserves credit for that, and I think that he’s got to keep doing that. (Tuesday) night’s going to be a real test for him because of how they will try to attack him and go at him.”

*Washington Jr. has recently taken a number of charges for the Buckeyes, which has come as somewhat of a surprise.

“If you’d have told us he was going to have a stretch where he’d lead us in charges, we’d have said no chance,” Holtmann said. “He’s done that and made some really key defensive plays for us. Counting on freshmen this time of year is a little concerning, but those guys have really been able to give us a lift.”

*Asked about how Ohio State had 21 turnovers at Iowa, Holtmann said, “I think it was a combination of all of it, really. We turned some over in transition. I think it’s uncharacteristic for Kaleb to have five turnovers. We just unfortunately did a really poor job attacking their changing defenses, attacking their press. We need to do a better job with that and I’m confident we will.”

*Holtmann took a submitted question about what he sells about Ohio State to recruits.

“A line in recruiting is, it’s not a four-decision, it’s a 40-year decision,” he said. “Of course, most kids don’t hear it’s a four-year decision anymore. What we try to communicate is just who we are and the value of this really significant impressive alumni base that Ohio State offers here. What that can do for the young man and their family well beyond their playing days, because I think that’s what kids are looking for right now. What can this place, how can it help me become the very best version of me?

“You can also communicate here what we can be as a program. I wouldn’t have come here if I didn’t think we could also compete at a really high level (like football), so we’re communicating that as well.”

Recruiting visits always include an academic component where recruits meet with the academic support staff, time with current players, a campus multi-cultural center and a lot of time being specific about the coaches’ vision for the player. It often includes specific video with position edits that might include recent players from their system.

*Who decides which shoes the players wear for games?

“We issue team shoes,” Holtmann said. “They are given a variety of colors. I don’t spend a whole lot of time, if any, on gear. Some shoes fit guys’ feet differently than others. I’ve resisted saying we’re just going to wear this particular shoe, because in some cases it’s uncomfortable for certain players. It may be something I revisit in the future, but I’ve not yet done that. They’re all our shoes issued by us, but in some cases they’re ways that fit our guys in a certain way.”

There was a game this season where Holtmann said he had to tell a player to change his shoes.


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