Walking on at Ohio State a 'no-brainer' decision for IMG Academy guard Colby Baumann

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch

It was during a year that Colby Baumann wasn’t even supposed to be there that his college path was laid out.

A native of Humble, Texas, Baumann transferred to Bradenton (Florida) IMG Academy for his senior season when a shattered wrist threw his plans into disarray. Without a senior season and with little recruiting buzz, Baumann made the decision to remain at IMG for a post-graduate year.

With Baumann now a member of the 2022 class, the decision led him to Ohio State, where he will spend the next four seasons as a walk-on guard for coach Chris Holtmann’s program.

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“During that postgraduate year my (IMG) coaches got in touch with some of the Ohio State coaches and it worked out where I figured out a spot on the team and ultimately it led me here,” Baumann said after participating in the Kingdom Summer League at Ohio Dominican University on July 10. “Once I made that connection with the coaches during this past year I really got to know the history and the history of Ohio State basketball and I love it.”

A 6-3 guard, Baumann said his recruitment started to pick up a little bit after his injury but that his next step was as much about life after basketball than being on the court. Baumann said he plans to major in business marketing with a goal of owning his own business one day. After being raised in Texas and playing in Florida, Baumann said the move north will allow him to branch out to a new region of the country.

The Buckeyes first started contact with Baumann in March, and he arrived on campus in mid-June.

“The ball’s gotta stop bouncing at some point and Ohio State, their academic program is one of the top ones in the nation,” he said. “For me it was a combination of both academics and athletics that led me here. No one in my family has ever branched out. I wanted to go somewhere new, experience something new and when I got the call of Ohio State it was a no-brainer for me. I’m excited to see the rest of these next four years.”

Ohio State will have a full 13-man roster for the 2022-23 season in addition to Baumann and one other walk-on: forward Owen Spencer, a Cincinnati native and transfer from the Citadel. Baumann said he’s met Harrison Hookfin, an Ohio State walk-on for the last four seasons, and that he’ll wear his No. 42 jersey.

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In Sunday’s action, Baumann finished with 9 points on 3 of 7 shooting (all from 3-point range) while teaming with new Ohio State teammate Kalen Etzler. Baumann buried the first shot he attempted, a 3-pointer from the right corner, and during the second half would connect on back-to-back 3-pointers complete with a little celebration as he headed back down the court.

“I fly kind of under the radar,” Baumann said. “Most people don’t know me yet, but I think they saw some of my shooting ability and just being able to get it to my teammates whenever I can. The coaches, the players, the whole staff that puts on this event, it’s awesome. I love the way everyone plays and how passionate they are about the game.”

Acclimating to Ohio State has been enjoyable, Baumann said, but the real challenges lie ahead. As a walk-on, Baumann said he recognizes what will be expected of him and that it almost certainly won’t be in-game contributions.

It’s what he’s signed up for, and it’s something he’s ready for.

“Being a walk-on, it’s always going to be tough dealing with that factor that you’ve always got to be there,” he said. “You’ve always got to be energetic and help your teammates out. That’s just my character and I love helping my team out any way I can.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

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