Chris Holtmann on Kyle Young’s recovery, Duane Washington Jr.’s benching
Two days removed from a 66-54 loss at Indiana, Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann hosted his weekly call-in radio show.
If you couldn’t listen, here are the highlights.
*Kyle Young returned from a two-game absence after undergoing an appendectomy and started against the Hoosiers.
“He was sore the next day, significantly,” Holtmann said. “Had to ask the trainer for some extra Advil. He was feeling it for sure and it wasn’t even a game that was above and beyond what he’s experienced in the past. The biggest issue for him he’s got to get his strength back to where it was. One of the side effects of this is fatigue for a month or so. It’s a tough balance. He did not play as hard as I’ve seen him play and a lot of that has to be fatigue from the surgery.”
*He’s the third player to miss roughly two weeks of action this season. Senior Andre Wesson was first, missing two games with a fractured right eye socket, and sophomore Duane Washington Jr. missed two games with an injury to the cartilage around one of his ribs.
Young’s recovery will be somewhat similar but take longer.
“Those injuries when you’re out for that long, I think it takes you a good week and a half to get into good decent game shape,” Holtmann said of Wesson and Washington. “The appendix surgery adds to it where it’s more involved. With Kyle, I think he’s going to see it for upwards of a few more weeks, whether it’s fatigue or pain he’s got to battle through.
“We’re trying to limit his contact (in practice). We’re trying to not let him get hit. It also has to do with timing. I thought a couple plays the other day he usually finishes that he didn’t finish because he’s not been hit enough in the prior couple weeks.”
*Washington spent most of the Indiana game on the bench. After the game, Holtmann said it was a coach’s decision. Today, he elaborated on those comments.
“I just did not feel like he was mentally where he needed to be in the game,” he said. “I thought it really affected his play and his performance. We we all know how important Duane is for our team and it’s important for us to get him playing better. I just felt like young kid, young players, he’s 19 years old, the amount of preparation that goes into playing on the road, we’ve got to get him better at that and he’s got to take ownership of being ready to play in an environment like that.”
*Before playing at Minnesota this year, Holtmann said the staff showed the players film from a loss at Penn State during Holtmann’s first season with the program to try and illustrate what life was going to be like on the road in the Big Ten.
*Looking at the losses to Maryland and Indiana last week, Holtmann saw some offensive improvements against the Hoosiers.
“Overall, we had quality shots, more quality shots against Indiana than we did against Maryland,” he said. “I thought particularly in the first half we were more intentional about attacking the paint and playing through the paint. We were not very efficient with our post feeding and post finishing. We still have to be more intentional about driving the ball and playing through the paint and our shooters being ready to shoot.”
*Kaleb Wesson had just one first-half foul against Indiana but picked up two quick ones in the second half.
“He’s such a contact player on both ends,” Holtmann said. “I did not love the duck-in foul that (Joey) Brunk was involved in. I didn’t think that was a good call, but listen: he seeks contact both offensively and defensively. It puts him in jeopardy at times of being in foul trouble. He has not been in foul trouble a significant amount this year.”
*Holtmann said he doesn’t think Ohio State has played a team that reminds him of how Nebraska plays, noting that the Cornhuskers will try to spread the Buckeyes out on offense and pack the paint defensively. Looking back to last season, Holtmann drew a slight comparison to Iowa State from last year’s NCAA Tournament game.
*Tuesday’s game will be only the second home game in nearly a month for the Buckeyes and it will see the return of the student section. Holtmann is looking for a big crowd.
“They need to feel the energy from our home crowd (Tuesday),” he said. “I just think it’s really important for this young group that’s been on the road here. The energy and positivity that comes from being at home, we really need that. We’re looking forward to it. Can’t wait to see our students.”
*Holtmann said he is picking Clemson “in a close one” against LSU in tonight’s college football championship game.