Will Ohio State's CJ Walker or Kyle Young return for one more year?
As it approached a season unlike any other due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA announced before the year got underway that it won’t count toward a player’s eligibility. All players, regardless of their year, have the option to return for the 2021-22 season should they so choose.
For the Ohio State men’s basketball team, that means Walker and Young have decisions to make. As the lone seniors for the Buckeyes approach the final home game of the season Saturday, both have left the door at least partially opened for another go-around at Ohio State.
Walker is in his fifth year after transferring from Florida State and Young is a fourth-year senior.
“It’s always a possibility with the free year for COVID,” Walker said Thursday afternoon. “That’s obviously an option for me. That’s something the coaching staff and my parents and I will talk about frequently. As of right now that’s not a decision that I’ve made 100%.”
A native of Canton, Ohio, Young has battled a wide variety of injuries during his four years with the program. The list includes a high-ankle sprain, a stress fracture in his leg, an emergency appendectomy and, most recently, a concussion that sidelined him for the February 25 loss to Michigan State. Throughout, he’s emerged as a fan favorite and key contributor thanks to his motor, hustle and ability to extend offensive possessions.
“I haven’t made a decision yet,” Young said. “I’m waiting until after the season, weighing out my options and go from there.”
Whenever the season ends, Young said there will be conversations with “a lot of different people” about his future. And, all things considered, he actually feels pretty healthy.
“Everything with my body, even this year I’ve been feeling pretty good to last year or even the year before with my legs,” he said. “We’ve been doing a good job managing everything with rehab. I really haven’t had too many problems. It’s going to have to be a lot of conversations and view a lot of different things.”
It's unclear what the roster will look like next season. The Buckeyes have two freshmen signed to join the program, but most programs lose at least one player each offseason to transfers, making it difficult to forecast how many spots Ohio State will be working with for next year.
Walker, an Indianapolis native, is 20 days shy of turning 24. He and his girlfriend have a 1-year-old daughter.
“I’ve been in college for a very, very long time,” he said. “Not to say coming back wouldn’t hurt anything or make me better, but obviously it’s an option but there’s nothing 100% yet. I haven’t made a clear decision yet on what I’m doing. We’ll have to see after March, after trying to win Big Ten and national championships. We’ll see after that.”
Tuesday, though, Walker did indicate his thoughts in a post to Twitter, where he wrote, “Last time playing in the Schott Saturday”
So we’ll see.