It’s been a rough offseason on the basketball recruiting front, as Ohio State’s promising 2018 recruiting class completely emptied out, and former Buckeye commit Dane Goodwin, a sweet-shooting guard that the Buckeyes could really use, committed to Notre Dame instead.
But Ohio State finally has some good news. They’ve secured their first 2017 commitment, four-star wing Musa Jallow.
You know the vitals at this point. Jallow is a 6-5 SG/SF out of Bloomington, Indiana, and had offers from Butler, Virginia, Stanford, and of course, his hometown Indiana Hoosiers.
Until basically today, Jallow was listed as a 2018 recruit. But he appears to have reclassified as a 2017 recruit, meaning that he’ll be able to play this season.
But what does Jallow’s commitment mean for Ohio State’s roster and future recruiting? Let’s take a closer look
What does Jallow bring on the court?
Jallow can get buckets. He averaged 24.1 points a game as a junior, along with 9.5 rebounds, which is excellent for a wing. Rather than a prolific deep range bomber (Jallow shot just 32% from downtown last season), he’s able to use his athleticism and size to get to the basket and finish, and it looks like he has a mid-range game too. There’s also potential there as a playmaker. And the fact that he’s been able to score so much while being a significant focus of opposing defenses is not for nothing.
But the biggest calling card appears to be his defense. His highlights are full of him swatting players trying to get to the basket, and his relentless attention to defensive detail is what attracted the attention of programs like Virginia in the first place. That’s been a major area of focus from his AAU program.
Zach Fleer, of 270Sports, described Jallow to me as an “athletic, playmaking wingman” that “reminds him of an Andre Wesson” type. Ohio State has had success with athletic, two-way wing players before, and another strong defender is always a welcome addition, especially one that can provide badly needed depth.
What does this mean for Ohio State’s depth chart?
Getting another 2017 recruit is simply critical for Ohio State’s depth, especially in the backcourt. Another player who can play minutes at the two frees up Kam Williams to play more minutes at point guard, either to spell C.J Jackson or to just give opponents a different look. It also gives Ohio State different options on how to deploy players like KBD or Andre Wesson, especially if a player gets hurt or into foul trouble. Even if he isn’t able to make a huge impact as a freshman, just literally having another competent body out there mades true disaster less likely for Ohio State next season.
Does this change Ohio State’s recruiting priority list?
Not dramatically. Thanks to the departures of Derek Funderburk and Braxton Beverly, Ohio State has tons of scholarship room to offer, so much, in fact, that they’re highly unlikely to use all of their available spots in 2018. The Buckeyes still are highly likely to have four-star wing Jerome Hunter as a major priority, along with fellow highly ranked Ohioan, combo guard Dwayne Cohill. Even though Ohio State missed on Bazley, Nance and Goodwin, there are still excellent, high Big Ten-caliber players left to be had in Ohio, and the Buckeyes would badly like to sign some. Ohio State will also continue to pursue players in the Midwest, and nationally, of course.
What are the next biggest priorities?
Guards, especially point guards. The Buckeyes are trying to duct tape together a point guard rotation out of players who aren’t actually point guards, and badly need bodies behind C.J Jackson to bring the ball up. They’re not afraid to go out of state to find those players, so names like Elijah Weaver or Luther Muhammad may factor into the Buckeyes’ plans.
But when you have a roster as depleted as Ohio State’s, basically every position group is a need. Ohio State needs other shooting guards, particularly one who can help spread the floor. They could use another rim defender and post scoring option. Wing players may be the position group of greatest depth at the moment, now thanks to Jallow, recent Butler-flip Kyle Young, and Andre Wesson, but hey, the Buckeyes aren’t; going to turn any of them down either.
Wait, did Ohio State really beat Indiana for a kid from Bloomington?
Yeah. Earlier this summer, Jallow said he didn’t have time to build a great relationship with Indiana’s new coaching staff. This is a nice start to what could be a fun recruiting rivalry over the next few years.
This month is going to be huge for Buckeye basketball. There are a lot of roster holes to fill, and since Ohio State is entering the game late, how much ground they’ll be able to make up in 2018 is unclear. But with Jallow in the fold, they’re off to a very solid start.