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NCAA denies Bucknell transfer Jimmy Sotos' waiver to play immediately at Ohio State

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
North Carolina's Joel Berry II, left, and Bucknell's Jimmy Sotos (3) chase a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Chapel Hill, N.C., Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

Bucknell transfer guard Jimmy Sotos has had his waiver for immediate eligibility at Ohio State denied by the NCAA, The Dispatch has learned.

Ohio State will appeal the decision.

A 6-3, 200-pound guard, Sotos started all 34 games for a Bison team that finished 14-20 overall and led the team in scoring (11.5 points) and assists (3.9) as a junior. With one remaining year of eligibility, Sotos wanted to transfer to a high-major program to close out his career.

Listen:BuckeyeXtra Basketball podcast | Guest Lori Schmidt talks Ohio State Hoops, favorite memories

The native of Elk Grove Village, Illinois, committed to the Buckeyes after also receiving interest from Gonzaga, Minnesota, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Xavier, among others. It was a quick process: he put his name into the transfer portal on a Friday and committed to Ohio State the following Monday, which was one day after guard Luther Muhammad announced his decision to transfer from the program. Muhammad has since signed with Arizona State.

Sotos told The Dispatch at the time of his commitment that he was fine with his role as a “traditional” transfer who would have to sit out the season before playing for the Buckeyes in 2021-22. Since then, however, the Buckeyes have opted to pursue immediate eligibility owing to the lack of bodies in their backcourt.

“When I came to Bucknell, I played right away as a freshman,” Sotos said in April. “I’ve had three years in a row where I’ve played a lot. I’ve only missed two games in my three years, so to sit out a whole year is definitely going to be tough but it’s going to make me hungry and excited and I think it’ll be well worth it.”

Ohio State will be anchored by fifth-year senior CJ Walker at point guard and junior Duane Washington Jr. at shooting guard with Utah State graduate transfer Abel Porter as the primary backup for both spots. No other true guards are on the roster.

More:For Ohio State's Duane Washington Jr., growth is all 'mental' this basketball season

In 100 career games at Bucknell, Sotos averaged 8.1 points, 3.9 assists and 3.4 rebounds in 28.2 minutes per game. He has 77 career starts and has started all but one game during the last two seasons.

The Buckeyes will open the season Nov. 25 against Memphis in the Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy