Ohio State basketball coach Chris Holtmann updates injury report, 2020 recruits and more

Adam Jardy
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann watches practice in the Schottenstein Center on Oct. 16. [Kyle Robertson]

Two days removed from a 68-52 win against Purdue that helped push Ohio State back to No. 25 in the Associated Press men’s basketball poll, coach Chris Holtmann hosted his weekly radio show Monday.

If you couldn’t listen, here are the highlights.

* On the injury report, Holtmann didn’t get into specifics other than the Buckeyes have a few players dealing with injuries, as do most teams across the country.

“This team’s had it more than any team I’ve experienced, but we’ve got enough healthy guys to perform well,” he said. “We’ve had to change some things in practice for some of our guys, Kyle (Young) and Luther (Muhammad) in particular. D.J. (Carton)’s situation is still day to day, but you’re trying to get yourself on the mend here.”

* Speaking further on Young, Holtmann said the junior forward is still fighting through a lot of issues.

“His leg’s the biggest issue right now,” Holtmann said. “He doesn’t have a stress reaction. What they thought about two weeks ago was we’re getting close to where he could have one, where you’re out two weeks if he has one. You had that and you had him still recovering from his appendix, which affected his conditioning. He just battled through it.”

* Junior guard Musa Jallow and wing Justice Sueing are both recovering from surgeries.

“We’re still months away (from their return),” Holtmann said. “They’re still very much in a boot. Their deal right now is stay on their academics and stay on rehab. We’re not traveling with them right now because it doesn’t do them any good. They’ll be back for a full summer of work. Musa, he certainly would be in our rotation right now.”

* Holtmann took a submitted question asking what has helped the team pull together and get out of a spell of six losses in seven games to where it has won five of its last six.

“I think there are ebbs and flows in a season when you’re playing in the best league in the country,” he said. “I would say for our end and what we could control, we have done a better job of being more efficient with our offense. Our turnovers have been limited a little bit in the past 2-3 weeks. We’ve shot it really well, and we’ve been pretty good rebounding the ball. A lot of it beings with we’ve practiced at an exceptionally high level.

“We also have had some home games, which always help in this stretch. There’s no question we’ve played well in this stretch of the last 2-3 weeks and I think a lot of it begins with our guys’ attention to detail. We have some guys really playing well.”

* Junior guard CJ Walker has 44 assists and 18 turnovers in Big Ten play this year.

“I think it’s him getting more comfortable in our system and what expectations are for him,” Holtmann said. “That’ll get challenged on Thursday at Iowa, but he’s been really good. Those are great numbers for a new point guard to our system. A lot of film work really in the last month. Then him getting more comfortable in our offense as well.”

* Ohio State’s two 2020 signees, Gene Brown III and Zed Key, are putting the finishing touches on strong senior seasons.

“Eugene Brown has played very well down in Atlanta,” Holtmann said. “He’s a bigger wing. Zed Key has had a great senior year. Zed is a big kid who has the ability so score with his back to the basket and can shoot some. He’s a bigger body. He’s a little bit undersized but has great length and is moving better and better.

“Gene has been really consistent shooting the ball. Two exceptionally good kids who are good students and we’re really, really excited about those two as well as our current young players.”

* Holtmann pointed out that at this point of the year, rotations are typically shrinking rather than expanding.

“There are times we’ll go nine deep or maybe 10 deep,” he said. “It’s really going to be eight guys, maybe nine guys on a given night. I do think guys have learned where their minutes are coming from off the bench and it’s given them some freedom and some confidence in those specific roles. You have a guy like Duane Washington who is playing the point guard as much as the 2. It’s a move we were moving towards him playing on the point right before D.J. (Carton) left, but Duane’s really settled into that role.”

* What will get a player’s minutes cut?

“The biggest thing that a guy’s minutes are going to be limited is if we feel like he’s fighting his role,” Holtmann said.

* One submitted question asked about which coaches handle what prep work for upcoming games.

“Typically work in advance on short turnarounds,” Holtmann said. “Jake Diebler handles all the opposition personnel scouting. He will put a personnel film edit that’s about 15 minutes long and we’ll show that to them three days before we play Iowa. Terry Johnson will develop a defensive game plan, how we’re defending their actions. Ryan Pedon handles the offensive part of it.

“Film sessions, I always have been inclined to make about the normal length of a TED talk. They typically go about 15-20 minutes. We’ll do three film sessions of about 15-20 minutes.”

* Former Ohio State forward Jae’Sean Tate was named first-team all-league in his first season playing in Australia.

“It would not surprise me to see him in the NBA sooner rather than later,” Holtmann said. “I firmly believe that in Jae’Sean. I’m really excited for him.”

* Looking forward, Holtmann said in future recruiting classes he looks for players who fit the culture as well as address a positional need.

“On the outside people say, ‘That kid’s really talented,’ ” Holtmann said. “That’s not always the best fit for your program for a variety of ways. I think you’re looking for, you can’t have eight centers on your roster. You can’t have 10 point guards. There has to be balance in classes, but we’re trying to look for people who fit wanting to be a part of playing for Ohio State. There is a balance between talent and what you’re looking for.”


Listen to the BuckeyeXtra Basketball podcast: