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Ohio State basketball power rankings: No. 13 Harrison Hookfin

Adam Jardy
Buckeye Xtra
Harrison Hookfin greets reporters from the hallway before the Ohio State men's basketball team's media day in the Value City Arena practice gym in Columbus on Tuesday, September 24, 2019. [Barbara J. Perenic/Dispatch]

Ohio State will open its 2020-21 men's basketball season by traveling to South Dakota to participate in the Crossover Classic. The three-day event that takes the place of the Battle 4 Atlantis will see the Buckeyes face Memphis on Nov. 25 in what will be the first Ohio State game in 262 days. The hope is to play a 27-game season that will include 20 Big Ten games and lead into a conference and then NCAA Tournament amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In preparation for an unprecedented start to the season, The Dispatch is counting down with power rankings for each member of the Ohio State roster.

More:Exclusive: Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann speaks about health of team, start of preseason

These rankings are an educated guess at which players will have the most significant on-court impact during the course of the entire season.

The series begins today with the No. 14 player in our rankings.

No. 13 – Harrison Hookfin

Position: Forward

Class: Junior

Height/weight: 6 feet 6 / 220 pounds

Jersey number: 42

Background: Hookfin was midway through his freshman year at Ohio State when he was added to the roster. A strong senior season for Lebanon, Ohio, had put him on the radar of the coaching staff, but the surprise preseason transfer of Micah Potter and a midseason injury to Kyle Young left the Buckeyes perilously thin in the frontcourt. In need of practice bodies, video coordinator Kyle Davis identified Hookfin and he joined the team in the midst of Big Ten season. He was added to the roster just in time for a Jan. 29 game at Michigan, and would make just one appearance that season where he played one minute and grabbed a defensive rebound in a Feb. 26 win against Iowa.

Need to know: In practice, Hookfin has shown a nice shooting touch and given some length to the scout team. He is listed 25 pounds lighter and one inch taller than his playing weight from a season ago. Hookfin grew up an Ohio State fan. He averaged less than a point and rebound per game as a prep junior, then grew four inches and averaged a team-high 14.4 points and 7.3 rebounds while playing 29.7 minutes per game and earning first-team all-conference honors. He turned down interest from Division III schools and enrolled at Ohio State to pursue a degree in biology. He’s the youngest of three siblings.

“It’s a story of a guy that just never gave up,” Kevin Wiggins, Hookfin’s high school coach, said. “The kid just works. He knows how to work and not give up, so if you have that, it’s a huge bonus.”

2019-20 recap: Hookfin saw more playing time in his second season with the program than his first and scored his first career points in the fourth game of the season, an 86-51 win against Stetson on Nov. 18, when he put back an E.J. Liddell miss. He would make eight appearances totaling 21 minutes, six of which came in the Stetson win, and would finish the year with two points and five rebounds. He was on the court for the final minute of a 25-point road win against North Carolina, and he made his Big Ten debut in the final minute of a 75-54 win at Nebraska on Feb. 27. He was also named Academic All-Big Ten and an OSU Scholar Athlete.

Ohio State Buckeyes forward Harrison Hookfin (42) warms up with the team prior to Sunday's NCAA Division I basketball game against the Maryland Terrapins at Value City Arena in Columbus on February 23, 2020.

2020-21 outlook: When Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann discussed the makeup of his team with The Dispatch one week into the preseason, he cited the benefit of having a core group of players and then named a list that included Hookfin.

“(He) has been in the system for a year and he’s a live body and he is willing,” Holtmann said. “He’s really helped.”

That doesn’t mean he’ll be counted on for in-game production. The Buckeyes have a full roster with 13 scholarship players, making him the lone walk-on and a longshot for any appreciable playing time. He will remain a practice asset, someone who can help push guys in practice, keep up with his academics and make his primary impact away from the public eye.

Required reading:

Walk-on Harrison Hookfin beat the odds

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy