Ryan Day isn’t the only Ohio State head coach that gets to have some fun on the recruiting trail! On Wednesday afternoon, four-star shooting guard Malaki Branham announced that he will stay in-state to play for Chris Holtmann and the Buckeyes when the 2021 season rolls around.
Branham, an Ohio native who plays at powerhouse St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, is a 6-foot-4, 175-pound guard who Holtmann and his staff have been recruiting for over two years. He is the fifth-highest ranked shooting guard in the class of 2021 according to 247Sports, the No. 1 player in the state of Ohio, and with a strong senior season at SVSM, could potentially achieve five-star status.
247’s Director of Basketball Scouting Jerry Meyer called Branham a, “quality ball handler who can pass on the move,” as well as a “versatile defender who rebounds at a high level.” Meyer goes on to say that Branham’s specialty is his ability to get to the rim as a slashing type of guard, but that his outside shot is improving. It is early, but they project him as a potential NBA draftee when all is said and done. The last Ohio State player to get drafted was Keita Bates-Diop in 2018.
Below is a short clip of Branham playing in Columbus this past season against Sierra Canyon, which is also the school of LeBron James’ son Bronny James. Also noteworthy is the fact that Ohio State men’s basketball announcer Matt Leinenger called this game when it took place in downtown Columbus.
In just over a year, he’ll be calling Branham’s name once again, this time when he’s donning scarlet and gray rather than green and gold.
Branham (No. 27 overall) joins fellow four-star guard Meechie Johnson (No. 89) and four-star wing Kalen Etzler (No. 90). Whether it was by design or not, Ohio State’s 2021 recruiting class is now comprised of the the top three players in the state of Ohio, without a single recruit coming from anywhere outside of the Buckeye state. The OSU basketball program is beginning to assert dominance recruiting within the state, which will certainly pay dividends in the years to come.
With the addition of Branham, Ohio State now has the second-ranked recruiting class for the 2021 cycle, just behind Baylor. The Buckeyes boast the No. 1 recruiting class in the Big Ten as well.