If I’m being serious, I thought it was an April Fools Day joke when scuttlebutt of former Ohio State and Alabama center Daniel Giddens having interest in returning to Ohio State came across my timeline.
Ohio State men's basketball: Ex-Buckeye Daniel Giddens to visit as possible graduate transfer https://t.co/ezYrikQYtZ— BuckeyeXtra.com (@BuckeyeXtra) April 1, 2019
Once you get over the initial shock of Ohio State having interest in the return of a former Buckeye that —if you don’t remember— didn’t exactly light the world on fire during his first tenure, the move actually makes some sense from a roster building prospective. Ohio State is in desperate need of a rim protector to back up Kaleb Wesson, and Kyle Young can’t do it. Ibrahima Diallo could be that guy, but not as a freshman.
If it wasn’t for the name and track record associated with him, Giddens feels like a pretty great fit for that role. He played sparingly in two years at Alabama, struggling with injuries, and never really developed the offensive game we hoped to see him develop in Columbus. However, despite the lack of offensive production, he’s still a 6-foot-11 center that can block shots better than anyone on Ohio State’s roster. On top of that, he won’t expect starting time, and would be content serving as a role player at best, coming in when the Buckeyes need a big man that can play defense above replacement level.
Giddens has a very distinct niche, and it happens to be a niche that his former team is lacking. Taking Giddens doesn’t lock up a scholarship down the road, and it provides some immediate help for the foul-happy Wesson. That feels like a pretty good deal. It also feels like potentially the best Ohio State can do on the transfer market, especially if Joey Brunk isn’t interested in sitting behind Kaleb on the depth chart.
Now, there’s the question —once detached from Giddens’ history with Ohio State— about his production, or lack thereof at Alabama. While his less than impressive numbers can’t be explained away, I do think they can be given some context. Giddens played on a team that focused almost entirely on playing small-ball, and because of that, along with a hand injury, he saw just eight minutes a game. It’s hard to make much of an impact in that time, and when you pair that with just 14 games played, his entire junior season can be written off as essentially useless.
So, using his year at Ohio State, and sophomore year at Alabama, what exactly could we expect from Daniel Giddens playing about 15 minutes a night off the bench?
Well, using the forecast feature in Excel, we can see that, when using those two seasons for reference, Giddens could be expected to contribute about four points, three rebounds, a little over one block, and three personal fouls per game. For reference, when playing similar minutes last year, Ohio State’s Musa Jallow contributed three points, three rebounds, and just under one assist per game. Obviously different style of player, but valuable as a reference point nonetheless.
Are those numbers useful to Ohio State? Well, the points aren’t great, obviously, but given that Ohio State struggled with rebounding and shot blocking last season, I think Giddens could provide a helpful spark off the bench. If he has the right attitude, his size and defense gives not just Kaleb and Kyle a needed break, but helped others, like Andre Wesson and Musa Jallow, who had to carry a lot of the defensive load whenever they were on the floor.