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Scoonie Penn brings excitement to Ohio State basketball

Also, J.T. Barrett named to Davey O’Brien watch list.

James ‘Scoonie’ Penn #12

He brings a real personality and charisma.”

- Chris Holtmann of Scoonie Penn, via Todd Jones,

During my freshman year at Ohio State, as my roommates and I prepared to walk from Lincoln Tower to the still fairly new Value City Arena on one February evening, I surprised (and annoyed) them by coming out of my room, wearing one of those fuzzy buckeye hats and a Superman costume with “coonie” taped next to the iconic “S” on my chest and cape. Ah, to be young and have no shame.

Some 17 years later, Scoonie Penn, Ohio State basketball’s new Director of Player Development, still has the ability to excite Buckeye fans. As Jones discusses in his article, at his official introductory press conference yesterday, the former Buckeye point guard displayed a charm and energy that showed what made him a fan-favorite as a player, and what will likely make him an important addition to Chris Holtmann’s staff.

NCAA rules do not allow Penn to coach the players at practice or to recruit off-campus, but for a retired player who spent 11 years playing overseas, this seems like an ideal opportunity to begin a path towards helming his own program one day.

After complimenting former coach Thad Matta, saying that he coached his hardest during his final tumultuous season in Columbus, Penn said that despite what could be a rough upcoming season, the future is bright for the Buckeyes.

“This will be a tough year, for sure,” he said. “There’s no doubt about that. But I think these guys have it going in the right direction. I’m glad to be part of that.”

And, should one of Holtmann’s assistants take a head coaching job elsewhere down the road, it would be great to see Scoonie officially back on the sidelines at the Schott.

By the way, I was named the Fan of the Game for that 2000 contest against Iowa. We lost, but I won a basketball signed by the team, which I still have.

Four-star offensive tackle Max Wray is one of a few Ohio State commits expected in Columbus later this week for the Buckeyes' Friday Night Lights camp. And he's bringing an interesting group of Tennessee prospects with him.

- Bill Landis,

This week’s Friday Night Lights is likely going to have a somewhat less BOOM-bastic feel to it than it has in recent years. As we discussed on LGHL’s State Secret’s Podcast, there won’t be many of Ohio State’s top remaining 2018 targets in attendance, so there won’t much of an opportunity for Urban Meyer to add more top-line talent to the No. 1 ranked class.

However, one of Meyer’s 15 commits will be in town, and he’s bringing some friends along for the ride. The country’s No. 8 offensive tackle, Wray committed to the Buckeyes on Tax Day, April 15, and is hoping to help broker some future dividends by bringing a quartet of 2019 four-star recruits to Columbus for Friday’s camp.

Currently, OSU doesn’t have any commits for 2019, but has reportedly extended offers to all four of Wray’s guests; defensive ends Joseph Anderson and Ani Izuchukwu and wide-receivers Trey Know and Lance Wilhoite. If any (or all) of the four make a pledge at FNL, that would be a solid start to another historic recruiting class.

Two-time Davey O'Brien national quarterback award semifinalist J.T. Barrett will be in the running again this year as he was one of 30 quarterbacks selected to the award's watch list for the 2017 season.


It’s that time of year: watchlist season. Another prestigious college football award has announced its preseason watch list, and this time, it is the Davey O’Brien Award, presented annually to the nation’s best quarterback.

OSU’s J.T. Barrett has twice been a semifinalist for the prize, and comes into the season with expectations of finishing his legendary Buckeye career on a high note. The Wichita Fall, TX-native holds 23 Ohio State records, and needs just five yards to own the school’s total offense record, 1,167 yards for the passing mark, and 535 rushing yards to move into the program’s top 10.

With new offensive coordinators Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day running the show, many Buckeye fans are eager to see if Barrett can return to the form he had in 2014 before breaking his ankle against Michigan. Since then, though his numbers have been strong, the productivity and efficiency have seemed to wane.

Penn State’s Trace McSorley and Michigan’s Wilton Speight are the Big Ten’s other two representatives on the list. The Buckeyes will play the Oklahoma Sooners and Baker Mayfield (also on the list) during the second week of the season.