Ohio State men's basketball power rankings: No. 14 Harrison Hookfin

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch
Harrison Hookfin (42) takes questions from reporters during media day for the Ohio State men's basketball team at Value City Arena in Columbus on Tuesday, September 28, 2021.

With the promise of fans in the stands and a return to normalcy, Ohio State will open the 2021-22 season with an exhibition game against Indianapolis on November 1. Eight days later, Akron will come to Value City for the first official game, a visit that canceled last year when COVID-19 delayed the start of the season.

The Buckeyes will bring a 15-man roster to their sideline this season, one with unprecedented experience that features two players in their sixth years of college basketball and four others in their fifth. Third-year forward E.J. Liddell is the first Ohio State player to return after being named first-team all-Big Ten since Aaron Craft did so in 2013-14, and his decision to return after exploring his NBA draft stock has the Buckeyes opening the season picked to finish fourth in a joint media preseason poll conducted by The Dispatch and The Athletic.

With all of that in mind, The Dispatch is counting down to the start of the season with our annual power rankings. These rankings are an educated guess at which players will have the most significant on-court impact during the course of the entire season and will feature each player on the roster.

The rankings continue today with Harrison Hookfin.

No. 14 – Harrison Hookfin

Position: Forward

Class: Senior (fourth year)

Height/weight: 6 feet 6 / 195 pounds

Jersey number: 42

Major: Biology

Background

As he entered his senior season at Lebanon, Ohio, playing college basketball was about the furthest thing from Hookfin’s radar. A lightly-used player as a junior, Hookfin had averaged 0.9 points and 0.8 rebounds in 3.6 minutes while appearing in 15 games. His impact changed dramatically during his 2017-18 season, where he burst onto the scene with a 28-point outburst in his first game, blossomed into a first-team all-Greater Western Ohio Conference South Division selection and averaged 14.4 points and 7.4 rebounds in 29.7 minutes per game. Hookfin grew four inches that year, and midway through his freshman year at Ohio State he was officially added to the team as a walk-on

In 13 career appearances, Hookfin has scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds. 

Need to know

Hookfin turned down interest from Division III basketball programs to enroll at Ohio State. He’s the youngest of three siblings. During Ohio State’s 2021 media day, Hookfin took turns interviewing his teammates while accompanied by a film crew. As a third-year player at Ohio State, would occasionally lead the Buckeyes onto the court for pregame warmups. During his first year, Hookfin 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.

Off the court, Hookfin was named to the Academic All-Big Ten team in each of the last two seasons and was an Ohio State Scholar Athlete in 2019-20.

2020-21 recap

A shorter non-conference schedule meant fewer opportunities for Hookfin, who after appearing in eight games during his second year made only four appearances in 2020-21. Still, Hookfin logged a Big Ten career-high 5:16 of playing time in a 90-54 home win against Nebraska on December 30 and finished with three rebounds and two points. For the season, he averaged 1.5 points and 1.0 rebounds, but his impact was greater away from the floor.

While playing through the COVID-19 pandemic, the Buckeyes were forced to stick together and hold each other accountable in order to give themselves their best chance of an uninterrupted season. That took buy-in from everybody, Hookfin included.

“You’re just together,” he said. “We have a really, really good group of guys and last year we really meshed well. We all got along together. We all were very mature off the court and held each other accountable. We had a really good team chemistry. If someone was going through something, someone else picked them up. We had really good chemistry.”

Does that mean a walk-on could make a bigger impact than in a typical season?

“I’d say so,” Hookfin said.

2021-22 outlook

With such an experienced, deep roster, Hookfin’s contributions will again come on the scout team and away from the eyes of the public. He’s continued to slim down and add strength during his Ohio State tenure, and that has shown during practices as well as during his appearances in the Kingdom Summer League.

Entering what could be his last season at Ohio State, Hookfin said his improvement has been significant.

“I can say I’m head and shoulders a lot better than I was when I first got here,” Hookfin said of his time so far at Ohio State. “It’s hard not to be with the level of high-quality coaching and strength and conditioning and everything. I’m a lot more confident in myself.”

Those attributes have endeared him to his teammates and coaches and earned him a spot on the roster yet again.

Additional reading

Harrison Hookfin:Buckeyes walk-on beat the odds

Harrison Hookfin:Kingdom Summer League recap

Previous power rankings

No. 15 – Kalen Etzler

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy