Where does Ohio State fit into Bronny James' recruitment?
As the story famously goes, had LeBron James needed to play college basketball, he would’ve been a Buckeye.
Now, nearly two decades later, his son finds himself in a somewhat similar situation. As he enters his senior season at Chatsworth (California) Sierra Canyon, Bronny James is at the center of the recruiting world as he debates his next step.
According to multiple national reports, James is looking at a handful of options for the 2023-24 season. He could be considering participating in the NBA’s G League Ignite program or, according to a report from the Athletic, the possibility of playing professionally in Australia’s NBL for a year before entering the NBA draft.
Ohio State basketball insiderStay in the know with texts from beat reporter Adam Jardy
But, should he go to college, where would he go? ESPN national recruiting director (and former Ohio State assistant coach) Paul Biancardi reported last week that James “is being pursued by the likes of UCLA, USC, Michigan, Ohio State and Oregon, among others.”
So could the Buckeyes be in play for the son of one of their state’s greatest players?
It’s a relationship that does make some sense. Ohio State wears Nike gear with Lebron James’ personal logo, has had a locker in its locker room reserved for him and even sells No. 23 jerseys with “JAMES” on the back. The connection is there, even if James hasn’t really spent any personal time with the program in years.
This isn’t a customary recruitment. Those close to the situation are not only tight-lipped about what James could be considering, but his father hasn’t been shy about batting back speculation about the next step. When On3.com published a report that Bronny James was leaning toward Oregon, his father took to Twitter to refute the thought.
“He hasn’t taken 1 visit yet and has only had a few calls with coaches and universities,” LeBron James wrote Tuesday night. “When Bronny makes his choice you’ll hear it from him.”
Unclear how serious Bronny James is considering Ohio State basketball
The Dispatch has learned that, yes, there has been limited communication between Ohio State and James, but it’s unclear if anything has progressed beyond just that.
The Buckeyes have a four-man 2023 class that, for now, accounts for all 13 available scholarships for next season. In order to have a spot for James, Ohio State would have to oversign, something athletic director Gene Smith has discouraged in the past. Times have changed with the advent of the transfer portal and immediate eligibility for first-time transfers, though, and teams who don’t lose at least one player to the portal are now the exception rather than the norm.
Bronny James recruiting ranking in Class of 2023
James is ranked No. 43 nationally according to the 247Sports.com composite database. A 6-foot-3, 190-pound shooting guard, he is the No. 7 prospect at his position and the No. 12 player in California, according to the website. Ohio State has the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation with all four commitments among the top 105 nationally and led by Wichita (Kansas) Sunrise Christian Academy small forward Scott Middleton at No. 34.
That group is expected to mesh with this year’s five-man freshman class that was ranked third nationally to give coach Chris Holtmann a talented-but-young nucleus of players. It’s unclear, even if another roster spot would be available, whether Holtmann would want to add another first-year player to the 2023-24 roster or would prefer to hold tight with four commitments.