After a rough offseason and an awkward coaching search, the basketball Buckeyes got some unquestionably great news Monday night, when four-star forward Kyle Young announced he’ll be flipping from Butler to the Buckeyes.
Young was granted a release by Butler and will be eligible to play this coming season. Here’s what this commitment means in the short and long term.
Ohio State’s floor for next year just got higher
Ohio State basketball hasn’t been picked by anybody to compete for much next season, although raw talent isn’t necessarily the reason. After all, Jae’Sean Tate and Keita Bates-Diop return, along with some intriguing young talent. But depth (basically everywhere) was a major concern, as failures in summer recruiting and roster defections left the Buckeyes one injury away from disaster.
Young’s addition gives Ohio State much more breathing room. With another wing with length and floor stretching ability, Chris Holtmann now has more options for his lineups, flexibility in case of foul trouble or injury, and an additional scoring option off the bench. Nobody short of a one-and-done type talent is likely to single-handedly propel the Buckeyes into Big Ten contention, and Young probably isn’t that kind of player, but his presence alone makes abject disaster less likely.
He gives the Buckeyes a lot more flexibility in 2018 recruiting
It’s not totally clear exactly how many scholarships the Buckeyes will have in 2018, since it depends on what happens with Keita Bates-Diop (who has a redshirt year but may decide to pursue professional basketball after this season), or any other roster attrition, but they’ll have multiple scholarships in what will be a pivotal recruiting class in restocking a depleted squad.
Ohio State will probably still want to recruit a wing, especially since Ohio has multiple solid options in 2018, but with Young, Derek Funderburk and Andre Wesson, that position group may be the deepest on the team for the Buckeyes. The top 2018 recruiting priority is unquestionably guards, especially point guards, (Dwayne Cohill probably being the top priority, but Holtmann’s staff has been offering virtually every other high level 2018 guard that Butler had a relationship with too) but knowing they have another high-level player banked in 2017 can make the 2018 search a little more manageable.
Oh yeah, Ohio State is getting a quality player who should play minutes next season
Ohio State has struggled scoring over the last few seasons, and that’s something that Young projects to do pretty well, as a three-point shooter or as somebody who can run the floor in transition, and he’s shown solid rebounding ability as well. He should be able to play at either the three or the four, depending on who he has to guard, and can help give something the Buckeyes badly need, additional floor spacing, especially if say, Jae’Sean Tate and Kaleb Wesson are on the floor at the same time.
Like most freshman, Young will need time to get stronger and learn the intricacies of defense. But given his skillset and the fact that Holtmann clearly already has faith in him, I’d expect Young to play next season, and not just in blowouts before Big Ten play. Not as a starter or anything, but perhaps as a backup four or another shooter off the bench. And from there, who knows?