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Chris Holtmann instrumental in bringing Justice Sueing to Ohio State

The Buckeye head coach continues to add talent in Columbus

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Iowa State vs Ohio State Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

“Being able to trust [Holtmann], I know he’ll be able to put me in the right spots to score or play-make. I feel like we both see eye-to-eye on that and that helped a lot as far as feeling like I’ll fit into the program.”

- Forward Justice Sueing on Buckeye head coach Chris Holtmann, via Buckeyextra

The Ohio State Buckeyes men’s basketball team has been on the rise ever since Chris Holtmann stepped foot in Columbus, with no apparent signs of slowing down. While the third-year Buckeye head coach has had clear success on the recruiting trail, he has also been able to add talent to his roster via the transfer market. After pulling in former Florida State guard C.J. Walker a year ago, Holtmann has once again added a transfer — California Golden Bears forward Justice Sueing.

Sueing spent two seasons with Cal, averaging 14.1 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. In his sophomore season, the 6-foot-7 forward led the team in total points with 444, the only player on the team to eclipse the 400-point mark, playing a team-high 1,070 minutes. His 14.3 points and six rebounds per game were good for 12th and 13th best in the Pac-12, respectively. However, with the Golden Bears seemingly heading in the wrong direction, letting go of head coach Wyking Jones after an 8-23 season, Sueing decided it was in his best interest to transfer from the program, finding his new home with the Buckeyes on May 10.

One of the biggest reasons for Sueing choosing Ohio State as his landing spot was his relationship with Chris Holtmann, who had recruited Sueing out of high school while he was the coach at Butler. Sueing said he feels that he fits well in the system that Holtmann has implemented in Columbus, stating he has done a great job as far as running the program and that he has a lot of trust in Holtmann to bring out the best in his abilities. Sueing said he is excited to build his relationship with the team and the coaching staff in year one as he works hard to be ready when he is eligible.

Just like Walker this past season, Sueing will have to sit out the 2019-20 season because of NCAA transfer rules, but will have two years of eligibility remaining when he returns the following season. With Holtmann and Ohio State pulling in the No. 1 class in the Big Ten this year, and whole additional recruiting class to come between now and Sueing’s eligibility, the Buckeyes have a legitimate chance of being a very dangerous team in the coming years.

“Really, spring was just a starting point since new position coach Al Washington was getting his first chance to evaluate the personnel, the Buckeyes were just beginning to learn a new scheme and there was no real urgency to establish a definitive depth chart.”

- Austin Ward, Lettermen Row

With the departure of a ton of talent to the NFL, the Ohio State football roster is going to look at lot different this season. While positions like quarterback and wide receiver are obviously going to be shaken up with most of the starters having moved to the pros, there is one position that did not lose much talent to the league that could still see a pretty big shakeup. That spot would be at linebacker, where all three of last year’s starters are returning, losing only senior Dante Booker to the NFL.

Linebacker was a huge problem for the Buckeyes last season, and it became increasingly apparent as the year went on. As a result of a poor scheme and guys playing out of position, all too often Ohio State’s LBs found themselves in single coverage against opposing wide receivers and in the wrong spots to make plays in the run game, resulting in way more big-yardage plays that the Silver Bullets have not been accustomed to. The addition of linebacker coach Al Washington should help when it comes to creating a better scheme, and hopefully result in the best guys being put in the best position to make plays.

Washington has a bunch of talent at his disposal within his unit that he could play around with to try and create the most optimal pairing in an effort to correct last year’s woes. While all three starters are returning, it does not mean that all three will be guaranteed those starting jobs again by the time the regular season rolls around. A battle for the No. 1 spot in the depth chart should breed healthy competition in practice, hopefully producing the best possible defense Ohio State could field.

Malik Harrison is the most likely of the three to retain his starting spot, coming off a season wherein he recorded a team-leading 81 total tackles with 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and an interception. Pete Werner and Tuf Borland also have a good chance to earn their spots once again despite their struggles a season ago, but they will have their work cut out for them with a few hungry guys behind them. Baron Browning and Teradja Mitchell are two names we will likely hear about competing feverishly for the jobs right up until the beginning of the season. Regardless of who lines up with the ones come August, we should see improved linebacker play from Ohio State in 2019.

Junior Dominic Canzone continues what has been nothing short of a brilliant season for the Ohio State baseball team. After knocking in the game-winning two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth last night against Youngstown State, the outfielder now has a team-high 15 home runs on the year — the most by a Buckeye since Christian Snavely hit 16 long balls in 2003. With a leadoff walk in the game Tuesday night, Canzone extended his reached base streak to 48 games. He now sits just three games shy of tying Nick Swisher’s record of reaching base in 51 straight games in 2002.

Canzone leads the team in batting average, hitting a whopping .355 with a team-high on-base percentage of .446. He is also tied for the team lead in RBI with 39. Canzone has started in all 52 games for the Buckeyes, who currently sit at 28-24 on the season. The junior, who was listed as the No. 4 overall Big Ten prospect in 2019 by and Perfect Game and the “Best Outfield Arm” in the Big Ten by Baseball America, will look to continue his historic season in the team’s final regular season series of the year this weekend against Purdue. The three-game conference bout begins Thursday, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. ET.

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