Throughout this summer, Land-Grant Holy Land will be doing a deep dive into the 14 scholarship members of the Ohio State men’s basketball team. Duane Washington Jr. and E.J. Liddell will be later in the list as we wait to see if they decide to pursue their professional careers or come back and play at least one more season at Ohio State.
So, the first 2021-22 Buckeye we will look at is newcomer Kalen Etzler. Etzler is one of two freshmen coming into the program this season and should be able to help provide some size and length to the roster. Etzler committed back in 2019 and is currently listed as a three-star prospect. He is ranked as the No. 144 prospect in the country and the No. 26 ranked power forward in the 2021 class.
The 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward is lauded for his ability to get up and down the court and his ability to stretch the floor out with his shot and play-making abilities.
WHAT HE HAS DONE: Since he is just a freshman, Etzler does not have any collegiate stats or accomplishments that we can look at. However, he was a decorated high school player at Crestview High School in Convoy, Ohio. Etzler played high school basketball for his uncle Doug Etzler, a former Ohio State guard.
Etzler averaged 11.7 points and 10.7 rebounds per game during his junior campaign. He then stepped up his production as a senior, averaging 18 points and just under 10 rebounds per game.
Etzler was the focal point of defenses when they faced off and he was still able to constantly get his numbers through his shot making and play making abilities.
WHAT’S NEXT: For Etzler, it will be interesting to see how much time he carves out in this rotation with how deep the roster is. The benefit he has is that he is a big man and the Buckeyes could use his length, especially if Liddell decides not to return to Columbus.
With Kyle Young back in the fold and Joey Brunk transferring in, Etzler’s likely won’t get too much playing time during his freshman season. But, with as many talented, veteran bigs that OSU has on the roster this season, Etzler should have a lot of great mentors to learn from.
PROJECTED ROLE: Etzler will likely play just 5-10 minutes per game off of the bench and get some extra time in blowout wins. Depending on how he plays early in the season, Chris Holtmann might be able to carve out a small role for him moving forward into the season. Holtmann has proven that he doesn’t mind going deep into the bench, especially to get the young guys some experience.
Next up in the series will be incoming freshman Malaki Branham.