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Ohio State hoops hopes for BOOMing week

Two Ohio State men’s basketball targets will be committing this week.

Adam Cairns via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Ohio State’s football season is quickly coming to a close. With an impressive victory over Purdue this past weekend, the team is heading into the final stretch. The Buckeyes have only two regular season games left on their schedule in Michigan State and Michigan, and much of the teams focus will be directed towards a strong finish. However, recruiting never takes a back seat. This mantra is one the Ohio State men’s basketball follows as well.

The Basketball Buckeyes opened their season last week with wins over both Niagra and Akron. While the final scores were closer than they had hoped, the team walked away with two wins, and made it a third on Monday night with a 89-58 drubbing of Bowling Green. On the recruiting front, the Buckeyes also saw all five of their verbal commits in the 2022 class sign their official offer letters. The success has Ohio State’s class sitting at No. 7 in the country and atop the Big Ten.

Even though this year’s recruiting class was just wrapped up last week, the Buckeyes are already looking to making the 2023 class just as successful. Ohio State currently holds a commitment from four-star combo guard George Washington III. This coming week will be big for the Buckeyes, as they hope to add to the class in the coming days.

Five-star combo guard to commit this week

Ohio State target and 2023 five-star combo guard Reed Sheppard is set to make his commitment later this week. There had been rumblings Sheppard was ready to make a commitment, and on Monday we learned he will be announcing his decision on Saturday, Nov. 20.

Sheppard has long been projected to choose Kentucky, and the in-state school will be tough to beat in his recruitment. However, the team is not alone in their pursuit of Sheppard. The elite prospect will be choosing between a list of elite schools including Kentucky, Ohio State, Virginia, Indiana and Louisville.

Ohio State just offered Sheppard in July, but his recruitment is moving at a fast pace and most other schools courting him offered this summer as well. Not in Ohio State’s favor, Sheppard has only completed visits with Indiana and Kentucky. Additionally, he has been labeled a legacy recruit for Kentucky, as his father also played college ball for the Wildcats.

The Buckeyes are not out of the running for Sheppard but if he were to choose any school other than Kentucky, it would be a great surprise.

Sheppard is the No. 22 overall prospect in the 2023 class and is No. 5 at his position. He is also the No. 1 prospect from Kentucky.

Four-star CG to commit this week

Sheppard is not the only blue-chip guard considering Ohio State that will be committing this week. Also set to commit this week is four-star combo guard Stephon Castle, who will make his decision known on Nov. 19.

Castle projects to play shooting guard at the next level, and is viewed as one of the best prospects in his class. He released a top six just last week that included Ohio State, Auburn, Arkansas, UConn, Georgia and Georgia Tech.

Castle’s recruitment is another one where Ohio State appears to be on the outside looking in. This is because he has taken official visits to both Auburn and UConn, and unofficial visits to in-state schools Georgia and Georgia Tech. Arkansas and Ohio State are the two schools on his list to not receive a visit.

However, it should noted that making his list — even without a visit — is an accomplishment, and shows just how well Holtmann and the Buckeyes are at virtually recruiting. The same can be viewed with the aforementioned Sheppard and the entire 2022 recruiting class.

The difference in Castle’s recruitment when compared to Sheppard is that there is no runaway favorite to earn his commitment Friday. This leaves Ohio State with a better chance to land him when compared to Sheppard. However, it would still be a surprise to see him choose the Buckeyes when it is all said and done.

Whether or not Ohio State earns commitments from either Sheppard or Castle, the guard position is a definite priority for the Buckeyes in next year’s class, even with the commitment of Washington III. Ohio State will lose both grad transfer guards Cedric Russell and Jamari Wheeler after this season, as well as fifth-year senior Jimmy Sotos — leaving Ohio State with just three returning guards on the roster.

They will be joined by freshmen Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle Jr. and Bowen Hardman. Unless the team goes the transfer route again, the Buckeyes will need to bring in at least two guards in next year’s class to ensure adequate depth at the position.

Make sure to follow Land-Grant Holy Land this week for updates on both Sheppard and Castle’s recruitments, as well as all things Ohio State recruiting.