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Player preview: Ohio State sophomore Eugene Brown III

Can the sophomore step into the role left by Musa Jallow?

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at UCLA Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Next up in our Land-Grant Holy Land Ohio State basketball player preview series is one of the most interesting guys on the team in my opinion: Eugene Brown III. Brown saw limited playing time in his freshman campaign but when he was on the court, he made the most of his opportunities.

Brown is a 6-foot-6, 195-pound guard who came from Southwest DeKalb in Conyers, Ga. He was a top-150 recruit in the country and the 23rd rated shooting guard in the 2020 class, according to 247Sports.

WHAT HE HAS DONE: Brown only averaged 1.2 points and 1.3 rebounds in just over six minutes per game in his freshman season. However, he was still able to make an impact on the court for the Buckeyes as a solid three-and-D guy and someone who could provide a spark off of the bench.

Even though he only shot 28% from three-point range, he did show signs of being a capable shooter and as long as that was an offseason goal for him, I am going to go out on a ledge and say that he gets that average over 35% in his second season.

He was able to show off his scoring prowess on a couple occasions, most notably against UCLA when the Buckeyes trailed the Bruins late and Brown came in and knocked down three straight three-pointers to propel Ohio State ahead and get a big, early season win.

If the ball found Brown in the corner, he became a legit threat for the Buckeyes.

WHAT’S NEXT: The next phase for Brown is simple. Improve. He has shown those flashes and signs that he can be a valuable contributor and his minutes will go up next season, so he needs to show that he is a three-level scorer and an elite defender.

With the culture of college basketball and the transfer portal being the way that it is right now, and how easy it is to move schools, Brown was someone I was keeping an eye on when the season ended. A lot of times freshman that see limited minutes and have set guys in front of them tend to exercise the transfer portal option, but Brown never seemed to give that indication and will return to the Scarlet and Gray for his sophomore campaign.

PROJECTED ROLE: Brown’s role will be interesting to watch and will very much depend on what Duane Washington Jr. decides to do. If Washington comes back to Columbus, which he is expected to do, Brown will be fighting with Malaki Branham for the No. 2 role in the rotation behind Washington.

The transfer of Musa Jallow makes Brown’s role interesting because that is a role that he can step into. Jallow was the guy that provided the spark off of the bench for the Buckeyes and could knock down shots if they needed him too, but primarily he was one of the team’s best defenders.

Brown can be the guy for Ohio State that steps into a 15-20 minutes per game role and provide great leadership and average eight to 10 points per game. If Jallow would have returned to Ohio State and not transferred to Charlotte, Brown’s role would have been more murky and hard to carve out with the returning guys and Branham coming into the program.

With Jallow leaving though, I expect Brown to step into that similar role.

Next up in the series will be Meechie Johnson Jr.