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Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann addressed the media on a variety of subjects

Even though the 2019-20 season is still a number of months away, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann met with the media yesterday to provide some updates.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

“Good last few weeks to a couple months for our guys, I think they’ve had a chance to get home and spend some time. All of our returners are here right now, as well as Ibrahima [Diallo] because he needed to get here a little bit early.”

Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann via Andy Anders, The Lantern

Chris Holtmann addressed the media on Wednesday, giving updates on a number of areas as Ohio State prepares for the 2019-20 season. The biggest topic that Holtmann addressed was junior forward Kaleb Wesson, who recently announced he was withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft pool and returning to Ohio State. Holtmann touched on some of the feedback that Wesson received from NBA scouts and coaches, and is excited to see how Wesson uses those critiques to improve his game.

One area that has Holtmann concerned heading into this season is the lack of experience and veteran leadership the Buckeyes have on their roster. While Ohio State has both Kaleb and Andre Wesson returning, along with senior guard C.J. Walker eligible after sitting out a year after transferring from Florida State, seven of the 12 potential contributors for the Buckeyes are underclassmen. Holtmann noted that he is expecting senior forward Andre Wesson take the next step not only on as a player, but also as a leader.

Holtmann is hoping a very tough non-conference schedule could help his young team grow up quick early in the season. Since Holtmann talked about matchups with West Virginia, Cincinnati, Kentucky and Villanova, Ohio State’s non-conference schedule got even tougher, as it was announced earlier today that the Buckeyes would be taking on North Carolina in the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

The final area that Holtmann touched on was the loss of assistant coach Mike Schrage, who left Ohio State to become the head coach at Elon. Even though the loss of Schrage will be tough to adjust to, Holtmann is confident that Jake Diebler will be a tremendous addition to the coach staff. While Ohio State fans know Diebler as the brother of former Buckeye standout Jon Diebler, Holtmann isn’t bringing him in just because he of his name. Holtmann believes that Diebler is a talented coach, and is excited to see what the young coach can do with the Buckeyes. Ohio State will open up their 2019-20 season in November.

“He’s one of the guys that has to play good... especially in the first six games of the year. He’s got to have a good year for us.”

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day on running back J.K. Dobbins via David Regimbal, Eleven Warriors

Last year Ohio State opened the season with a new starting quarterback and expected running backs J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber to shoulder a lot of the load until Dwayne Haskins became more comfortable with the offense. The plan didn’t exactly go as planned, with Haskins coming out of the gate throwing the football with great success and not slowing down.

Even though Ohio State struggled for most of 2018 to run the football with success, Dobbins finished his sophomore season with 1,053 yards rushing, giving the running back over 1,000 yards on the ground in his each of his first two years in Columbus. Last year Dobbins shared carries with Mike Weber in the backfield, but now that Weber has moved on to the NFL, the spotlight will be firmly on Dobbins.

Heading into this season, the situation for Ohio State will be similar to last year, as they will have a new starting quarterback. Justin Fields transferred to Ohio State from Georgia in the offseason, and even though Fields is insanely talented, he is still working to learn new head coach Ryan Day’s playbook.

To take some of the pressure off Fields, expect the Buckeyes to lean on Dobbins early in the season. When Haskins took the reins last year for Ohio State, he had been working with Urban Meyer’s system for a couple years, which allowed for the Buckeyes to move away from the running game a little sooner than they anticipated when it was obvious that Haskins had a firm grasp on the system.

While Fields is already in the conversation as a contender for the Heisman Trophy, Dobbins will be the most important offensive player for Ohio State this year. If Dobbins is able to put together a season like he did in his freshman year, it will open up the offense for Fields to have a little more freedom. If Dobbins struggled to find room on the ground, it will allow defenses to put more pressure on Fields. If both Dobbins and Fields are able to put together big seasons in 2019, then the rest of the college football will be in trouble.

Just a couple days after Ohio State baseball saw their season end after losses to Vanderbilt and Indiana State in the Nashville Regional, the Buckeyes saw a couple players get drafted in the first 15 rounds of the 2019 MLB Draft. After outfielder Dominic Canzone was taken by the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday in the eighth round with the 242nd pick, pitcher Andrew Magno was taken on Wednesday by the Detroit Tigers in the 15th round with the 442nd pick.

Canzone was a first team All-Big Ten selection this year after batting .345 with 16 home runs and 43 RBIs. It is possible for Canzone to return to Ohio State for his senior season, but with the $170,300 slot value signing bonus that Canzone could get from the Diamondbacks, it doesn’t seem likely Canzone will return to school for his senior season.

Magno finished his junior season with a 5-3 record, 14 saves, and a 2.09 ERA. The Dublin native pitched 64.2 innings for Ohio State this year and recorded 75 strikeouts. The 14 saves that Magno recorded were the second-most in the Big Ten this year, and the seventh-highest single-season saves total in school history. Magno’s finest performance of the year came in Ohio State’s lone win of the NCAA Tournament, when he gave up just one run and striking out 12 batters over the final 7.2 innings in a 13-inning win over McNeese State.

Much like Canzone, it’s hard to see Magno return to Ohio State, as Detroit is expected to offer the Ohio State pitcher a $125,000 signing bonus. Magno is just the sixth Ohio State pitcher to be taken in the first 15 rounds of the MLB Draft since 2010, with the last being Ryan Feltner, who was taken by the Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of last year’s draft.