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Ohio State offers five-star combo guard

The Buckeyes sent out a scholarship offer to Zion — just likely not the one you’re thinking of...

Oak Hill Academy five-star CG Zion Cruz
USA Basketball

The recruiting trail has been a bit quiet for Ohio State in recent weeks. I guess this is what happens when you secure 18 commits before June. While the current football pledges in the 2021 class keep teasing new upcoming BOOMs, the rest of us just have to wait and see how Ryan Day finishes out his impressive group. As usual, when all is stilled on the gridiron, we look to the hardwood for updates.

The basketball Buckeyes currently hold the No. 8 class in the nation in 2021 — good for No. 3 in the Big Ten — and while Chris Holtmann would still like to add to this two-man crew, he also remains hard at work searching for the nation’s top talents in future classes.

That work continued on Tuesday, as Ohio State offered 2022 five-star combo guard Zion Cruz.

Cruz, the No. 5 shooting guard and No. 20 overall prospect according to the 247Sports Composite, is a native of New Jersey, but announced in April that he would be transferring to the prestigious Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. The basketball powerhouse has an impressive track record of producing some top-tier NBA talent, including players among the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant and Rajon Rondo.

With still two years left in his high school career, Cruz has already spent some time in the national spotlight. The 6-foot-3, 170-pound guard participated in the USA Basketball Men's Junior Team minicamps in both 2018 and 2019, and was named one of 18 finalists for the USA Basketball U16 National Team in May of last year. In addition, Cruz was also named a MaxPreps Freshman All-American honorable mention in 2019.

Currently holding at least 13 offers, Ohio State adds their name to the list alongside other top programs including Kentucky, Louisville, St. Johns, and Syracuse, among others. With likely a long way to go until he makes any sort of decisions, expect Cruz’s recruitment to ramp up significantly before things are said and done, especially with the added exposure he’ll receive at Oak Hill. Holtmann will be hoping to have earned himself some additional brownie points by being one of Cruz’s early offers.

This dude can hoop. I mean, just check out some of his highlights in this game as a sophomore at Hudson Catholic:

The Buckeyes currently have one player already committed in the 2022 class, with that being three-star Cincinnati shooting guard Bowen Hardman.

Quick Hits

  • It looks like Ohio State QB commit Kyle McCord will have some serious work to do if he wants to walk away this year’s Elite 11 MVP. The event dropped its latest player rankings via Twitter on Tuesday night, and McCord came in at No. 8 of the 11 competitors. Both Justin Fields and Buckeye freshman QB CJ Stroud won the Elite 11 MVP in their respective recruiting cycles.
  • Update: Shortly before midnight, it was announced that McCord won Tuesday’s Pro Day competition with a score of 45 points. Drake Maye, a North Carolina commit, finished second with 40 points. McCord finished just shy of Stroud’s record-setting 50-point performance in 2019, and will likely see himself shoot up the Elite 11 rankings as he looks to become the third Buckeye QB to take home the MVP award in the last four years.
  • According to Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts, a pair of Ohio’s top prospects in the 2023 class are very interested in Ohio State. Both Luke Montgomery, a defensive end from Findlay, and Brenan Vernon, another DE from Mentor, planned to visit Columbus during spring practices this offseason, but those plans were obviously derailed by COVID-19. We’re still too far out for either player to have any sort of star-rating yet, but expect these two to be among the top in-state prospects in the class when we reach that stage.