How does Taison Chatman's commitment impact Ohio State, Bronny James?

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch
Taison Chatman, a guard from Minneapolis Totino-Grace, took an official visit to Ohio State during the weekend of Sept. 2, 2022.

Ohio State secured a significant piece for its future Tuesday night when Taison Chatman announced his verbal commitment for the 2023 class. A four-star combo guard from Minneapolis Totino-Grace, the 6-4, 170-pound guard picked the Buckeyes from a list of finalists that also included Kansas, Minnesota, Virginia and Xavier.

His addition moves the Buckeyes to a four-man class that is now ranked No. 5 nationally. Three of the four are four-star prospects in the composite database: small forward Scotty Middleton (No. 39), Chatman (44) and power forward Devin Royal (50). Center Austin Parks, who slipped in the rankings when a knee injury held him out of summer activities, is ranked No. 168 but committed to the Buckeyes after also landing offers from Indiana, Michigan State and others.

Chatman is the top prospect from Minnesota, and while the Golden Gophers were recruiting him, their pursuit cooled when they landed a July commitment from four-star shooting guard Cam Christie.

“I wouldn’t say it was hard (to leave the state),” Chatman said. “I just thought Ohio State was the right place. If I feel like I can develop and reach my goals at Ohio State, I’m going to go there and do it. It wasn’t really no hard feelings from Minnesota, I just had to choose what’s best for me.”

Here's what Chatman’s commitment means for Ohio State’s future.

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How does Taison Chatman fit into Ohio State’s plans?

One reason for the growing divide between the Buckeyes and George Washington III, a prior verbal commitment for the 2023 class, was his desire to run the point in addition to playing off the ball. While Washington is a talented scorer, his skills on the ball were inconsistent throughout the spring and summer evaluation periods, leading to a slide in the national rankings and questions about how much he could realistically run the point in college.

That’s not to say that Washington can’t be a point guard in college or that he’s not a high-major talent. He still could become that, and he now has a list of five schools under consideration: Dayton, Louisville, Michigan, Virginia and Wake Forest.

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But at this point, Chatman is a more proven option at both positions and immediately slots in as a player who is capable of helping at the point from the second he steps on campus. It was a major part of Ohio State’s pitch to him as well.

“They said I’m really positionless at the 1 and the 2, so if I need to score I’ll probably move down to the 2 and as far as playmaking, I’ll probably slide up to the 1,” he said. “I can make plays and create for others like a true point guard but I also have scoring abilities of a shooting guard. I feel like on every team I’ve been on I’ve kind of had to play the role of scoring sometimes and then if I had super good players and they couldn’t really create their own shot I’d be the one to create a shot for them or just get them an open shot or comfortable shot for them.”

Taison Chatman, Devin Royal, Austin Parks and Chris Holtmann (L-R) pose before Ohio State's game against Notre Dame at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 3, 2022.

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What does this mean for Bronny James and Ohio State?

There remains more than a zero percent chance that James ultimately becomes a Buckeye, but for multiple reasons the number isn’t much higher than that.

With Chatman’s commitment, Ohio State currently sits at the maximum of 13 scholarship players for the 2023-24 class. Even if some roster attrition is assumed, which in this era of the one-time waiver and the advent of the transfer portal is usually a good assumption, the Buckeyes will still be a heavily youthful roster next season. Ohio State opens this season with five first-year players and now has four more pledged for next season, giving the Buckeyes the potential to have nine of their 13 players in their first or second seasons of college basketball.

Should someone depart early, be it to transfer or enter the NBA, Ohio State is likely to use that spot to pursue a veteran in the portal to add experience to the roster rather than another fresh face.

Plus, as the roster projects, Ohio State has significant backcourt depth that would seemingly preclude James from wanting to throw his name into the mix if he’s seeking a one-and-done path to the NBA. The Buckeyes will have sophomores Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle Jr. and Bowen Hardman, fourth-year wing Gene Brown III and fifth-year wing Tanner Holden in addition to first-year guard Chatman and Middleton.

That’s a crowded depth chart for someone seeking heavy minutes to ensure that he’s ready for the NBA. Although he took an unofficial visit to Ohio State for the Notre Dame game, James is unlikely to make a college decision until the spring.

How does this Ohio State class stack up nationally?

The Buckeyes were hanging around the top five until Washington de-committed following his official visit during the Notre Dame weekend and have since dropped to No. 9 nationally. Now, with Chatman’s commitment, Ohio State has climbed back up four spots and sits at No. 5 behind Duke, Michigan State, UConn and Kentucky.

Given that Chatman is likely the final addition to the class, the Buckeyes are unlikely to climb any higher and could drop as time progresses and five-star prospects come off the board. But for the first time since 2014-15, Ohio State is in position to post consecutive top-10 recruiting classes according to the 247Sports composite database.

Holtmann’s five-man 2022 class finished ranked No. 8 nationally and tops in the Big Ten. While recruiting rankings aren’t an exact science (that 2015 class of JaQuan Lyle, Daniel Giddens, Austin Grandstaff, A.J. Harris and Mickey Mitchell was ranked higher than the prior one featuring D’Angelo Russell, Keita Bates-Diop, Jae’Sean Tate and David Bell), the numbers indicate that this is the most sustained recruiting success Holtmann has experienced as he enters his sixth season at Ohio State.

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How’s his golf game?

Pretty good, apparently.

While on his official visit, Chatman said the Buckeyes took everyone to TopGolf for a little bit of fun. Who was the best of the bunch?

“I’d say me,” he said. “I think I’m a pretty good golfer.”


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