Best shooter? Dunker? Dresser? Ohio State basketball players have their say

Adam Jardy
The Ohio State men's basketball team at media day on Sept. 24. [Barbara J. Perenic]

We have reached the time of the college basketball preseason where everyone has an opinion. National magazines are on the shelves, preseason honors and lists are being compiled and games remain more than three weeks away.

So while everyone has an opinion, nobody truly knows a team better than the players on its roster. With that in mind, The Dispatch is continuing its annual tradition of polling as many current Ohio State players as possible for their thoughts on this year’s team. In exchange for anonymity, players are asked to vote for the best shooter, dunker and dresser on the roster.

A reminder: Only players who have already suited up to play college basketball are permitted to speak with reporters, meaning the team’s four freshmen were not included in the poll. Also, multiple players split their votes in single categories. Due to that, plus rounding numbers, totals might not exactly add up to 100 percent. Also, players were permitted to vote for themselves.

Best shooter: Justin Ahrens

As a freshman, he occasionally struggled to get off the bench. But when Ahrens got into the game, particularly late in the season, he showed an ability to light things up at a high level.

At no point was that more pronounced than in a breakout performance against Iowa, when he connected on six three-pointers and finished with 29 points. His six makes tied him for the most in program history by a freshman, putting him even with D’Angelo Russell (three times) and classmate Duane Washington. His point total from the night was also tied for the sixth-most by an Ohio State freshman.

For the season, Ahrens shot 38.8 percent from deep but only attempted 49 threes. Of his 19 makes, 17 came in Big Ten play, where he shot a team-best 41.5 percent.

Classmate Luther Muhammad finished second in the voting. He shot 37.5 percent from three for the year but only 33.3 percent in Big Ten play as his shooting dropped off during the final third of the season. He looked much more confident throughout the summer and spoke with The Dispatch about his improvement in that area.

Washington was the only other player to receive votes but did not receive a full vote on his own. He shot 30.6 percent from three for the season and attempted 134 shots, second-most on the team.

Here’s how the voting broke down:

Ahrens: 72.9 percent

Muhammad: 16.6 percent

Washington: 10.4 percent

Best dunker: D.J. Carton

In adding D.J. Carton, the Buckeyes brought in an athletic point guard who is being expected to provide a shot in the arm to their offense in the open court.

According to his teammates, that will extend all the way to the rim as well. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound freshman from Iowa edged out classmate Alonzo Gaffney for the honors for the best dunker on the 2019-20 roster. Four different players received votes in this category, but only Carton and the 6-foot-9, 198-pound Gaffney received solo votes.

Here’s how the voting broke down:

Carton: 39.6 percent

Gaffney: 33.4 percent

Jallow: 16.7 percent

Young: 10.4 percent

Best dresser: Duane Washington Jr.

This category is obviously a little bit more subjective, and it’s the one that was the most challenging for most players to answer. Caveats were tossed out and qualifiers were asked, with some players wondering if this meant best everyday style or the player who can dress up the best.

However they chose to interpret the category, Washington took top honors here. Possibly of note: despite only having been with the team for a short period of time, California transfer Justice Sueing got a slight nod from one teammate.

Here’s how the voting broke down:

Washington: 43.8 percent

Jallow: 35.4 percent

Muhammad: 16.6 percent

Sueing: 4.1 percent


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