Tuesday was a busy day in Buckeye Nation. Obviously the big news of the afternoon was Ohio State’s Pro Day, where guys like Justin Fields and Tommy Togiai got a chance to impress NFL coaches and scouts at the Woody. However, as is always the case at one of the nation’s largest athletic programs, recruiting was also a hot topic in the news — both in football and basketball.
Hoops commitments on the horizon?
With the college basketball transfer portal seemingly growing larger in population size with each passing day, the NCAA equivalent of free agency will see a ton of player movement this offseason. Ohio State has both benefitted and been hurt by the portal in the past, notably gaining huge additions like CJ Walker, Justice Sueing and Seth Towns but also losing guys like D.J. Carton and Luther Muhammad. Chris Holtmann will look to snag another talented player from the transfer market on Wednesday afternoon.
Marshall grad transfer Jarrod West will be choosing his next destination later today, and Ohio State is among his top three choices alongside Pittsburgh and Louisville. The point guard averaged 12.5 points on 45% shooting from the field while leading all of C-USA in assists per game (6.0) and steals (2.5). In speaking with 247Sports, West gave a breakdown of his three finalists, praising the work of Holtmann and the Ohio State program.
“Obviously coach Holtmann is a really good coach,” said West. “He was really good at Butler and obviously now at Ohio State. Ohio State is also another winning program that was the number two seed in the NCAA tournament this year. They’re really good and not too far from home. The coaching staff is really good and showed their interest. I think they also have the type of situation where they feel like they can be successful not just next year but for the years to come.”
The already guard-thin Buckeyes could certainly use an experienced player at the position of West’s caliber, especially with his knack for distributing the basketball. However, the team may have already found their man with the addition of Jamari Wheeler on Tuesday night. While West is a better scorer than Wheeler, Wheeler is the superior defender, and it appears as though Pittsburgh may be the favorite to last the 5-foot-11 floor general anyway.
In addition to West, Ohio State could perhaps add a player through the more conventional route on Wednesday, as a key in-state prospect is set to make his commitment. Three-star power forward Josiah Harris is set to announce his school of choice this afternoon at 4:44 p.m. ET, and will be choosing from one of his top seven options, which include Cincinnati, Georgia Tech, Kansas State, West Virginia, Virginia Tech, Xavier and of course Ohio State.
4:44 tomorrow. Be ready pic.twitter.com/WJaEwMEZmE— Josiah Harris (@Jojo_bean0730) March 30, 2021
Harris is the No. 43 PF in the 2022 class, and the No. 219 player in the country overall. A Cleveland native, Ohio’s 8th-best prospect in the cycle stands at 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds, and would add to an Ohio State recruiting class that currently ranks No. 1 in the country with commitments from a trio of guards in Roddy Gayle Jr., Bruce Thornton and Bowen Hardman.
Buckeye Bash 2 — Electric Boogaloo
This past cycle’s Buckeye Bash was a huge success. With the players in the 2021 class unable to officially visit Ohio State with the extended COVID-19-induced dead period, the Buckeye commits took matters into their own hands. Jack Sawyer was able to host nearly all of Ohio State’s 2021 commits, in addition to the uncommitted Derrick Davis Jr., for a weekend in Columbus as the group got to get to know one another and take in the sights of their future school.
With the dead period looking like it will come to an end this summer, the plans are beginning to take shape for Buckeye Bash 2. Ohio State’s 2022 class is only 11 guys deep thus far, but it is loaded with top-tier talents and guys who seem intent on getting even more of the nation’s top prospects to hop on board. It looks as though the weekend of June 4 will be when the event will take place, as a few of the current Buckeye commits began tweeting their plans for an official visit during that time on Tuesday night.
Ohio State official June 4-6th. BIA— Dasan ❌ccullough ¹ (@Dasan2022) March 30, 2021
Ohio State official June 4-6 BIA #GoBucks— Caleb Burton III (@calebburtoniii) March 31, 2021
See y’all June 4th. I’m coming home! #buckeyebash2— Bennett Christian (@BennettC87) March 30, 2021
In addition to the guys already committed to Ohio State, this has a chance to be a ginormous weekend for the program to add some fresh faces. There is already one massive name on the guest list in four-star safety Xavier Nwankpa. The No. 5 safety in the 2022 class and the No. 72 player in the nation overall, the Iowa native has long been linked to Ohio State, with guys like Dasan McCullough and C.J. Hicks repeatedly referring to him as a Buckeye on social media. This second Buckeye Bash event could be a big step in making that a reality.
Hey @Dasan2022 @imcjhicks @calebburtoniii see y’all June 4— Xavier “X” Nwankpa (@xaviernwankpa01) March 31, 2021
There will surely be many more names to add to that visitor list in the new few weeks as the end of the dead period becomes more official, so be sure to stick with Land-Grant Holy Land for the latest.