The Ohio State men’s basketball program is getting all the help they can ahead of Chris Holtmann’s inaugural season in Columbus, Ohio. With a shortened offseason, player departures and late-signees, the Buckeyes will have another bit of help in the front office with the addition of James (Scoonie) Penn as Ohio State’s Director of Player Development.
“We are really excited about Scoonie being a part of our staff,” Holtmann said. “All of Buckeye Nation will know that he is one of the all-time great players and ambassadors of our program. His connection to past and present players is impressive and something I was looking for in this position. He is such an accomplished player and I know his passion for Ohio State basketball is as strong as ever.”
Penn played for Ohio State from 1998-2000, earning Big Ten Player of the Year in 1999 and second team All-America honors in 2000–his last season rocking the Scarlet and Gray. Penn was a captain for the Buckeyes and was named team co-MVP in both of his years in Columbus. Before coming to OSU, Penn transferred from Boston College.
In two seasons, Penn averaged 16.3 points and 4.1 rebounds, along with 284 assists. He ranks No. 46 all-time in scoring at Ohio State (1,076 points) and sits at No. 7 in program history for points scored in NCAA Tournament play (123 points).
“I want to thank Coach Holtmann for giving me this opportunity,” Penn said. “I am very excited to be a part of the basketball staff at Ohio State. I've always felt like coaching was a calling of mine and there isn’t a better place to have a chance to learn than the university that I attended and care so much about. It's going to be fun to learn from Coach Holtmann and the rest of the staff.”
Since his time at Ohio State, he was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft, but ended up playing his entire career — 11 seasons — in Europe (for teams in Italy, Croatia and Greece). Penn was recently voted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame with the 2013 class.