Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann updates D.J. Carton, Kyle Young, transfer rules and more

Adam Jardy
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann watches the game against Villanova on Nov. 13 in Value City Arena. [Adam Cairns]

Two days removed from a home win against Indiana and on the eve of a road game against Michigan, Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann addressed his team in Monday’s weekly radio show.

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

*There’s still no update on when D.J. Carton could return to Ohio State.

“No new updates on that situation,” Holtmann said. “As I said after the game, and I certainly didn’t want to overshadow our team’s performance, but I thought most importantly we wanted people to know we were supporting him. I don’t have any time frame or update.”

Holtmann also reiterated his thoughts from Saturday on supporting Carton in every way possible.

“It’s still fluid,” he said. “Our whole staff feels like this. As D.J. mentioned, this was something we’ve been working on throughout the year with him and trying to support him in this. That will always be the case. Certainly the obvious, does D.J. help us win games? Sure. He’s a very talented player. But there’s more important things than that, and that is him being healthy.

“I would never ask a guy that tore cartilage in his knee to keep playing. Why would I do that? That’s not in his best interest. Mental health is no different.”

*Without Carton, junior CJ Walker played 36 minutes and put forth one of his better offensive performances of the season.

“I thought he was really solid in a lot of ways and looked like a guy that we need him to be on a consistent basis,” Holtmann said. “Offensively he’s got to continue to run our team. Be ready for offense when it’s there, but he’s got to create opportunities (for guys). Defensively, he’s got to be tough, he’s got to be physical, he’s got to do that without fouling, particularly with the lack of depth we have in our backcourt. He’s had moments where he’s done that. He’s had a pretty good last few game stretch.”

*Junior forward Kyle Young, who was limited last season with a stress fracture in his leg, has been limited in practice recently as a precaution.

“Kyle Young has done so many good things for us but we’re mindful of making sure he doesn’t have some of the issues he had last year with the stress reaction in his leg,” Holtmann said. “We gave him some time off (last week). He’s not on a minutes clock in games. He has been in practice. He’s been limited in practice right now.

“They’re just mindful of it. They’re just keeping an eye on it because they’ve seen some things that have concerned them a little bit.”

* Holtmann was discussing toughness when he said, “We had a player throw out his shoulder two days before the game. He played in the Indiana game.” Sophomore guard Luther Muhammad wore a heavy brace on his right shoulder but started and played 28 minutes in the win.

In addition, Terence Dials, the team’s director of professional development, is dealing with pneumonia and will not be with the team when it goes to Michigan, Holtmann said.

*A listener-submitted question asked Holtmann about his thoughts on the proposed Big Ten rule change allowing players a one-time transfer within the conference without having to sit out a season.

“I think it makes sense,” he said. “I think that’s the direction we’re heading in general in college basketball and college basketball. I think the reality is, for 10 years now, it’s kind of been this wave of transfers. I just think it’s reality. What everybody has to accept is there’s going to be a degree of roster turnover every year. It doesn’t have to be an alarming thing. Sometimes it’s the best for both parties. I think it’s a good thing, the one-time exception, and I think that’s where it’s headed.”

*To follow that, Holtmann cited Wisconsin, which lost second-leading scorer Kobe King last week but beat first-place Michigan State on Saturday.

“Everybody was writing Wisconsin off after this deal with Kobe King and they come back and beat Michigan State pretty handily,” he said. “People think they have a feel for what goes into those decisions and into the locker room … there wasn’t chaos. Those guys rallied around each other and understood that young man made a decision. Throughout my coaching career, I’ve not had a year where we’ve had too many transfers. It’s been very few, maybe one a year or two a year.

“I’ve always taken the same stance and that is if it’s best for you or for both parties then we’ll support you and help you in your net move. I think that’s how most coaches are. There used to be a stigma around transfers and there’s not anymore, and there shouldn’t be.”

* In conference play, Ohio State is ranked No. 2 in offensive efficiency behind just Iowa.

“The turnover situation is where we have to get better at, and there have been some games where we have just not performed very well,” Holtmann said. “If we can clean up some of our turnovers through 10 league games … we’re second in the league.”

To that end, Holtmann pointed to the fact that junior center Kaleb Wesson had no turnovers in the Indiana win.

“The ball’s in his hands a lot,” Holtmann said. “He’s got to continue to value and take care of the ball and not have careless turnovers. Hopefully he’s moving in that direction. I thought he was just terrific on both ends.”

* This will be the third straight game between the Buckeyes and Wolverines to be played in Ann Arbor.

* Holtmann took a question about whether or not Ohio State plays two-for-one in the final minute of a first half.

“We go over it quite a bit,” he said. “We had a situation in the game against Indiana where we went two-for-one, but I don’t know if I can give our player the credit. I didn’t love the shot. In the end of the half, we will do it seven out of 10 times, particularly if I have a timeout. I’ve never done two-for-one late in games, but it’s something I could look at.”

Holtmann said he understands the math behind the strategy but said he’d like to have more control over the kind of shot the Buckeyes would get at the end of a game. During the first half, the plan is to get the ball on the glass or rim with no more than 38 or 39 seconds left on the game clock.


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