Ohio State basketball 'all-in' on Taison Chatman as 2023 guard takes official visit

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State’s pursuit of the finishing touches on its 2023 recruiting class has not been lacking in intrigue. Last weekend, the Buckeyes welcomed in all four of their verbal commitments as well as a pair of potential additions in Taison Chatman and Bronny James.

Both are being recruited by the Buckeyes, who lost a commitment from combo guard George Washington III during the morning of Labor Day. But after Taison Chatman’s official visit, his father, Tommy, told The Dispatch that Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann and his staff made it clear how they feel about the four-star prospect from Minneapolis Totino-Grace.

“They’ve been plugging in and letting him know, ‘Hey man, we’re after you and you only. We’re not telling you this and entertaining seven other guys,’ ” Chatman said. “They’ve doubled down. The chips are all in, so it’ll be interesting what he decides to do.”

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Listed as a combo guard by 247Sports.com, Chatman is being recruited as a player who could handle the ball and play off of it as well. Last season, he shared an AAU backcourt with Tamin Lipsey, a point guard from Iowa who signed with Iowa State as part of its 2022 class. With Lipsey on the court, Chatman played off the ball with D1 Minnesota’s U17 team despite being a year younger.

“They were able to share the ball and do well,” Chatman’s father said. “This past season they were able to win a state championship (at Totino-Grace) and he had the ball in his hands and he closed out the game.”

That is the role Chatman said Holtmann and his staff outlined for the 2023 guard.

“For him, being able to hear from coach Holtmann: ‘Hey man, we don’t mind the ball being in your hands at all, you make great decisions, there’s opportunities where you may play off the ball which gives you a reprieve,’ he was definitely transparent about that,’ ” Chatman said. “The thing I really like is Taison has an uncanny ability to create for others as well as create space and doing it all within pace. That’s the piece that State may be missing to kind of go big, so to speak. Super unselfish dude, man.”

Ohio State first entered the picture for Chatman in mid-spring, his father said, and the communication from Holtmann and associate coach Jake Diebler has been “hot and heavy” ever since they saw him play in person. That level of consistency has left an impression on Chatman.

“Once they got eyes on him live, I think the thermometer ran hot,” he said. “One thing I will say about the State guys is they have been absolutely consistent with calling and communicating and showing him and us that they want him. Diebler has been all over it, man. Coach Holtmann as well. The difference from these guys is they’ve been, consistent may be an understatement.”

Chatman has taken official visits to Kansas, Xavier and UConn.

“Kansas was a really great visit,” his father said. “Got to sit down with coach (Bill) Self. Taison and the staff bonded really well. Also Xavier with (Sean) Miller. Miller’s a great guy. He’s a winner. He’s proven that at every school he’s went to. Looking at that, (Dan) Hurley’s a hot-blooded guy but I love him, man. He loves his kids, right? And he’s super intense.”

The Ohio State trip “opened his eyes to what fandom is,” Chatman’s father said. While on the visit, Tommy Chatman said he especially appreciated the opportunity to spend time with athletic director Gene Smith and also mentioned the impact of getting to see former national player of the year Evan Turner in person. Chatman’s father also said the bond between the other members of the 2023 class made it seem “like they’d been playing together for the last five years.” In meeting with Holtmann, the coach discussed Chatman’s strengths but also addressed areas of needed growth, honest feedback his father said the family appreciated.

Saturday night, they took in Ohio State’s football game against Notre Dame.

“Being able to see how many people support Ohio State athletics is just bananas,” he said. “His eyes were super big seeing those things. I think the football game is a whole different experience altogether. To see that many people together on one accord, it’s crazy, but it also speaks to the tradition there.”

With school getting underway, the recruiting process could soon be nearing its end for Chatman.

“I anticipate he may have a decision made soon,” his father said. “Not tomorrow, but soon, as far as what he wants to do or if he wants to narrow it down to two schools and say here’s my final two. That may happen. I think he’s mulling it over right now and stewing on it and coming down from the Buckeye high.”

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That feeling was brought on by the attention Chatman said his son received from Ohio State fans both during and after the visit.

“In all honesty, I don’t want this to sound like a ploy, but looking at the fan base and looking at how they were yelling his name and cheering him on, that really made him light up,” his father said. “I do believe the State fans could probably push it over the top if they got on his socials and encouraged him on those things. He’s the type of kid who likes relationships, and the family part of it is what he feels the most.”

The 6-4, 170-pound Chatman is the No. 31 national prospect, the No. 8 combo guard and the No. 1 player in Minnesota according to 247Sports.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

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