Ohio State basketball power rankings: No. 12 Jimmy Sotos

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

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.

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 continues today with the No. 13 player in our rankings.

No. 12 – Jimmy Sotos

Position: Guard

Class: Senior

Height/weight: 6 feet 3 / 200 pounds

Jersey number: 1

Background: A native of the Chicago area, Sotos entered high school at Hoffman Estates (Illinois) Conant as a 5-2 freshman and graduated as a 6-3 senior who averaged 16.3 points, 4.4 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.8 steals and helped his team to a 27-5 record that season. Although he had zero scholarship offers entering his final AAU season, he received interest from the Ivy and Patriot Leagues but committed to Bucknell, where he played In 100 career games during three seasons and 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.

He opted to transfer to a high-major program for his final season of college basketball and, after receiving interest from Gonzaga, Minnesota, Missouri, Vanderbilt and Xavier, among others, he committed to Ohio State last April as a sit-out transfer. However, the Buckeyes have filed for a waiver for immediate eligibility that was denied by the NCAA and they are in the process of appealing that decision.

Need to know: Sotos has more than 22 thousand followers on Instagram (@Jsotos1) but has only posted 24 times. His father, Jim, played professional basketball in Greece. Sotos is the youngest of four brothers, all of whom played college basketball at some level. He is majoring in economics. At Bucknell, Sotos was teammates with Walter Ellis, son of former NBA player LaPhonso and one person who helped sell Ohio State to him. As a freshman, Sotos played 24 minutes and had five points as No. 14 seed Bucknell pushed No. 3 seed Michigan State to the wire in an 82-78 Spartans win during the first round of the NCAA Tournament. As a sophomore, he played 35 minutes and had 12 points, seven rebounds, five assists and just one turnover as the Bison nearly pulled off an upset at Ohio State. The Buckeyes prevailed, 73-71. In four career games against Big Ten teams, Sotos has averaged 8.0 points.

2019-20 recap: Bucknell struggled to a 14-20 overall record, its only losing season during Sotos’ three years. The only player to start all 34 games, he became the first Bison since 2010-11 and the eighth ever to lead the team in both scoring (11.5 points) and assists (3.9). He also led Bucknell in steals (1.6) and free-throw percentage (.800) and shot 40.6% from the field, 37.1% from three and 80.0% from the line. He scored in double figures 20 times, including five games of 20-plus points.

2020-21 outlook: Sotos is one of multiple players with unknown forecasts for the season. Initially, he was thought to be a no-brainer decision for a redshirt season and an eye on helping mentor freshman Meechie Johnson Jr. in 2021-22 as a grizzled, fifth-year senior. Now, his waiver status makes his role for the upcoming season unclear. Should the NCAA reverse its decision, he immediately slots into the rotation and helps lessen a backcourt load that will primarily be shouldered by senior CJ Walker and junior Duane Washington Jr. Sotos and graduate transfer Abel Porter as their primary backup.

If not, he will be an experienced practice player who will bide his time for a season and prepare to make his impact as a fifth-year senior next season.

Additional reading:

Ohio State's Jimmy Sotos has waiver request denied

Ohio State lands Bucknell transfer Jimmy Sotos

Previous power rankings:

No. 13 – Harrison Hookfin

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy