Ohio State basketball team had a rough summer, Chris Holtmann says

Adam Jardy
Ohio State sophomore forward Justin Ahrens has been limited for much of the summer with a back injury. [Brooke LaValley]

Fully recovered from the injuries that limited him for most of his sophomore year, Kyle Young found himself in a hospital emergency room last week. The Ohio State forward was dealing with internal pain that the men's basketball staff feared might be appendicitis.

Ultimately, it was much ado about nothing. Young is fine. But the experience helped sum up what was a somewhat challenging summer for coach Chris Holtmann and his staff as they worked to start laying the groundwork for the 2019-20 season.

A team with four freshmen and four sophomores spent much of the summer battling bumps and bruises that consistently knocked players out for a few days or a week here and there, Holtmann said, but ultimately the semester was a success.

“You’re always going to have more caution in the summer with some things, but I would’ve loved to be a little less banged up than we were,” Holtmann said Tuesday afternoon at Value City Arena. “It was good in a lot of ways. The biggest thing was setting the tone on how we want to do things.”

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The two most significant injuries were to players who had strong performances to close last season. Junior Musa Jallow suffered from ankle swelling that the medical staff was working to get under control, Holtmann said, while sophomore Justin Ahrens was limited for much of the summer with a back injury.

Ahrens is still limited in what he can do.

“He’s lost some weight so we’re monitoring that pretty closely,” Holtmann said. “Everybody else is healthy.”

That includes junior center Kaleb Wesson. Holtmann said the team’s leading scorer and rebounder from a year ago has the lowest body-fat composition of his time at Ohio State and is as light as he’s ever been.

Holtmann confirmed that former graduate transfer guard and graduate assistant Andrew Dakich has been added to the staff as a program assistant as they continue to try and help him get started in the coaching profession.

The position vacated by former player Scoonie Penn, who was director of player development for two seasons before accepting an assistant coaching job with the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, remains open. Holtmann said he is aiming to fill the spot within the next week or so and that it will likely entail some different responsibilities with an emphasis on helping members of the current team build professional relationships within the community.


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