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After a tumultuous offseason, Ohio State men’s basketball is ready to get back to work

Excitement is up for the Buckeyes, as Chris Holtmann readies for his first season as Ohio State head coach.

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NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-South Regional-North Carolina vs Butler Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

“I think everyone’s ready to just pick up the ball and practice and play. With all the NCAA rules and time restrictions, it’s been tough to do that. With open gym, we play a lot, but it’s a lot different between practice and open gym.”

-Ohio State center Micah Potter via Adam Jardy, The Columbus Dispatch

A new dawn is upon Ohio State basketball, and it officially starts Saturday when Ohio State is able to start practices. Yesterday, the Buckeyes took part in media day over at Value City Arena, and there is an excitement around the program that hasn’t been noticeable over the past few years. Head coach Chris Holtmann takes over the reigns of the program from Thad Matta, and while it may take a bit for some results to show with this young Ohio State team, it is evident they are starting to put the pieces together.

Ohio State has a full roster of 14 players heading into this season, but there are many new faces on the roster, with seven of those players taking part in their first season with the Buckeyes. Ohio State will get a boost with the return of junior Keita Bates-Diop, who missed most of last season due to injury. Not only will the young Buckeyes look to Bates-Diop for leadership, but a lot will be expected from senior forward Jae’Sean Tate as well.

It might be a rough season for Ohio State from a wins and losses standpoint, but there is no doubt there is optimism surrounding Buckeye basketball, not only with the coaching change, but with some of the 2018 recruits who have already committed to Ohio State. At least for now fans can see these Buckeyes grow, as they adjust to life under Chris Holtmann.

“Universities often invest in things. When we offered him a scholarship, and he took it, that was a great investment for us.”

-Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer on Elijaah Goins via Dan Hope, Eleven Warriors

Special teams units don’t get the spotlight that the offense and defense does, but Elijaah Goins is making the most of any opportunity he is given at Ohio State. The senior from North Carolina has made head coach Urban Meyer look like a genius for giving the former walk-on a scholarship.

While Goins is likely never going to see any snaps on either offense or defense for Ohio State, Goins is impressing with what he has been able to do on the kick coverage units for Ohio State. Goins’ speed has allowed him to make a name for himself with some of the plays he’s made so far this year.

It’s natural for Goins to want to be out on the field more to help his team, but he is happy with how he is able to contribute. The special teams unit doesn’t get the publicity like the offense and defense, but it is just as important, because it sets the tone for what those units are able to do. Don’t be surprised to see Goins make even more plays for the Buckeyes on special teams as the year goes on.

“I just started playing football because I thought it would be fun and I wanted to hang out with my friends. I ended up being pretty good at it. My senior year, the opportunities were so great I just couldn’t pass it up.”

-Ohio State wide receiver Garyn Prater via Scott Springer, The Cincinnati Enquirer

One of the latest Buckeyes to lose their “Black Stripe” was wide receiver Garyn Prater. Last week the Cincinnati native officially became part of the Ohio State football team when he had his stripe removed. It’s understandable if Ohio State fans haven’t heard much of the freshman wide receiver, since not only is he a walk-on, but he’ll likely be redshirting this season.

There is some optimism for Prater for the future though, as the wide receiver is 6-6, and over the last few years head coach Urban Meyer has been targeting taller receivers. Prater’s size and ability on the football field caught Kerry Coombs’ eye in high school and brought him to Ohio State. If some time on the football field isn’t in Prater’s immediate plans, Meyer might want to see if basketball head coach Chris Holtmann could use Prater, as he averaged 16.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game on the court in high school.