Mailbox: Readers want to know why Ohio State men's basketball isn't an elite program

Brian White
The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Chris Holtmann instructs his players during the second half of the NCAA men's basketball game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Value City Arena in Columbus on Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021.

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On Ohio State basketball

To the editor: I want to say how great the Buckeyes looked in the Big Dance. They rebounded, shot, defended, were aggressive, hit foul shots, were fast paced and unyielding! Coach (Kevin) McGuff should be congratulated. On the other hand, I have never seen the men’s team look so discombobulated. Zed Key was beyond awful. EJ lived up to his second-half clown circus, dribbling off his foot, throwing out of bounds and missing layups. Rebounds were nonexistent. They should seriously think about staying another year so they can learn how to play. I’m not a hater. I think both are outstanding citizens.

Joe Keenan, Grove City

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Kevin McGuff talks to a referee during the first quarter of the NCAA women's basketball game against the Illinois Fighting Illini at Value City Arena in Columbus on Jan. 6, 2022.

To the editor: I doubt athletic director Gene Smith would fire Chris Holtmann right now. He is an old-school athletic director. Holtmann is an old-school coach who just coaches but isn't like maybe some of these new-era coaches. I think OSU may need a coach in the future who can excite the fan base at this football-first school. Seats being empty will get any coach fired. But I do hope they let him finish out his contract. 

Charles Parks

Ohio State Head Coach Chris Holtmann yells to his team during the OSU mens basketball game against Niagara in Columbus, Ohio, on Friday, Nov. 12, 2021.

To the editor: Why was Chris Holtmann in Georgia looking at Eugene Brown? He sabotaged EJ Liddell's career by not allowing him to play alongside a true big man. He had to score, rebound and defend opposing centers. He did horrible even in the transfer portal. He knew Kofi Cockburn was returning. He knew TTUN had a 7-footer. Purdue had a 7-footer. But he didn't address it in recruiting or the transfer portal. #FireHoltmann

Lamonte Johnson

To Joe, Charles, Lamonte and the rest of the Holtmann haters: Chris Holtmann is a good coach and should keep his job. Yes, this year's team had flaws, and his work in the transfer portal needs to improve. But this year's group was not the one that was planned. A top-eight rotation of Duane Washington Jr., Malaki Branham, Jamari Wheeler, E.J. Liddell, Justice Sueing, Zed Key, Kyle Young and Seth Towns would have looked quite different from the two-shooter, easy-to-guard attack Holtmann played with this year. The Buckeyes had many flaws, but somehow got to the second round without Washington, Sueing, Towns and half of Young. 

Ohio State's Emily Curlett celebrates her team's NCAA college Frozen Four Hockey championship win overMinnesota-Duluth, Sunday, March 20, 2022, in State College, Pa. (AP Photo/Gary M. Baranec)

On Ohio State hockey

To the Sports section team: I am dismayed and angry that you actually shared a women’s college national championship headline with a boys high school championship headline. Then, the Sports section includes more about men’s basketball teams who lost rather than women who brought home a national championship to Ohio. The OSU hockey team’s accomplishment is historic and should be covered as such.  You really blew it. 

Mary Jo Hudson,  Columbus

To Mary Jo: You raise a good issue and one we went back and forth on. Both championships were too late for the Monday print editions (but were prominent on, with the women's story leading the site for more than 12 hours). So for Tuesday we tried to figure how to display two historic, meaningful titles that are of interest to two large fanbases, taking into account that both happened two days prior and were known about by almost all of our readers. The solution was to use a combination package of large celebration photos, conveying a feeling of a double dose of local joy.

Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson, center, poses for a portrait with general manager Andrew Berry, left, and head coach Kevin Stefanski during Watson's introductory press conference at the Cleveland Browns Training Facility on Friday.

Watsonpress 11

On the Browns

Dear Brian: Spare me all of the pretentious and sanctimonious opinions over the Cleveland Browns signing Deshaun Watson to play quarterback next season. His alleged behavior has been glorified and encouraged by the NFL for decades. Commissioner Roger Goodell has tolerated a lot of player misbehavior since he became commissioner and apparently he would like all NFL fans to do the same. 

Decent men do not do what is alleged to Watson. Goodell did not veto the trade. It's business as usual for the NFL and teams like the Browns doing whatever they believe it takes to win a Super Bowl title.

James Matuszak, Reynoldsburg

To the editor: Some people never learn. The last time the Browns took a chance on a quarterback with a lot of off-field baggage, they got Johnny Football Manziel!

Joseph R. Sabino

Dear Mr. White: It’s hard to imagine a U.S. businessman having a worse 21st century than Jimmy Haslam. First, the feds investigated Flying J executives of conspiracy to bilk longtime clients. At the same time, he presided over an NFL team featuring a dizzying revolving door of coaches, GMs and quarterbacks, and a horrible record to show for it. Now, thanks to Haslam’s pursuit of Deshaun Watson, 31 NFL owners (who play the salary of commissioner Roger Goodell) have 230 million guaranteed reasons to be furious with Jimmy.  And what about Goodell, who will rule on Watson’s future?  There are two components of an NFL disciplinary suspension of a player: The team loses the services of a star player, and the star player loses a lot of money.  While it’s common to keep the salary piece low in year one of a free-agent contract, wily old Jimmy has structured Watson’s deal so his likely suspension will cost him less than 1% of his total package, effectively neutering part two of the punishment.

I’m guessing Goodell just might notice this maneuver and therefore decide to double down on part one. (Tom) Brady got four games for ball tampering and Zeke Elliott got six games for one incident that never made it into the courts. Don’t be surprised if Watson is booted for the entire ’22 season.

Jon Armstrong, Columbus

To James, Joseph, Jon: Two dozen women speak in detail what Watson did to them. Watson says they're all lying. The Browns give him $230 million. It's one of the most confounding, unsettling, unbelievable moments in a confounding, unsettling, unbelievable Browns history.

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