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Basketball Buckeyes hoping for a BOOM of their own

Ohio’s top prospect in the class of 2021 is set to announce his commitment tomorrow. Will he choose Ohio State?

Four-star shooting guard Malaki Branham via Steve Helwagen of 247Sports

Ohio State’s football program got a much-needed BOOM this weekend when four-star DB Jordan Hancock committed to the Buckeyes after de-committing from Clemson. Now, the basketball Buckeyes are hoping to get a BOOM of their own this week.

The top-rated recruit from Ohio in the 2021 recruiting class is scheduled to make his announcement Wednesday afternoon, and Ohio State is very much in the mix to be the team selected. Malaki Branham (Akron, OH/St. Vincent-St. Mary) should be familiar for those that follow Ohio State basketball recruiting. We have talked about him on this site on numerous occasions, and we will soon know the four-star shooting guard’s college of choice.

Ohio State is one of three teams who received an unofficial visit from Branham before the COVID-19 pandemic, the others being Xavier and Louisville. Because the blue-chip prospect has kept his recruitment close to the vest, it can only be assumed these three schools have the best chance at landing a commitment tomorrow. However, Baylor and Alabama are in the mix as well, and the Bears have been on a hot-streak in recruiting as of late.

In addition to hosting Branham on an unofficial visit, head coach Chris Holtmann and his coaching staff have had at least one virtual meeting with him since the unscheduled dead period brought on by the virus. Therefore, the Buckeyes should be a heavy-favored contender at the very least leading up to his decision. In addition to this, the Buckeyes hold all five of the 247Sports Crystal Ball predictions, with a pretty high certainty rating of eight (out of 10).

Ohio State already holds two verbal commitments in the 2021 class with four-star combo-guard Meechie Johnson and four-star power forward Kalen Etzler, good enough for the No. 12 class in the nation by the 247Sports class rankings. Landing a commitment from Branham would be more than good enough to push the program into the top 10.

Due to the global pandemic, Branham was unable to show off his talents in summer camps this year. If things would have been different, Branham would’ve likely seen his recruiting rankings rise even higher than they currently are, as he has shown the potential to be a special player.

Branham is the No. 1 recruit in the state of Ohio, the No. 5 SG in the country, and the No. 27 overall prospect in the class. He is scheduled to announce his decision Wednesday at 2:22 p.m. ET.

Quick Hits:

  • We have been talking about 2022 Ohio State LB commit C.J. Hicks plenty lately in our State Secrets column. His goal of bringing in one of the best LB corps to Columbus appears to be working well as four-star OLB prospect Dasan McCullough (whom Hicks has been recruiting to join him at OSU for some time now) hinted that he may agree with Hicks on Twitter.
  • The aforementioned Hicks may be recruiting talent to join him in Ohio State’s 2022 recruiting class, but it is four-star OG commit Ben Christman who is recruiting the best talents in the country to join him in Columbus for the 2021 recruiting class. On Monday, Christman created hashtags on Twitter to bring five-star WR Emeka Egbuka and five-star OT Tristan Leigh to Columbus with him. Leigh, at the very least, does not seem to be opposed to the idea.