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Player preview: Ohio State forward Justice Sueing

Can Justice Sueing take the next step as an elite player in the conference?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Oral Roberts at Ohio State Joshua Bickel-USA TODAY Sports

As July comes to an end and we move into August, we are moving into the projected starters for Ohio State basketball this upcoming season for our Land-Grant Holy Land player previews.

Last week, we previewed sharpshooting senior Justin Ahrens and what he can bring to the offense with the loss of Duane Washington Jr. This week, we are looking at the Swiss Army Knife for the Buckeyes, Justice Sueing.

To prep and refresh your memory, check out this piece by Connor Lemons about Sueing and how underappreciated he was last season for the Scarlet and Grey.

Now that you have done that, let’s take a look at Sueing as we enter the upcoming season.

WHAT HE HAS DONE: Sueing has made a couple different stops in his collegiate career thus far and he has been productive at both.

Sueing came out of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, Cali. as the No. 171 recruit in the country, the No. 45 power forward in the country, and No. 19 player in the competitive state of California, according to 247 sports.

Out of high school, he decided to stay home and enrolled at the University of California-Berkeley. The 6-foot-7, 205-pound forward wasted no time making his presence known at Cal, averaging 13.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.5 steals per game, making him one of the more premier freshman in the conference. He played in 32 games, starting in 31. He was among the top-five all-time for freshman at Cal in total steals and points.

He made an even greater impact his sophomore season, averaging 14.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game. Just like his freshman season, he started in all but one game. After his sophomore season though, he decided to transfer. When he announced that he was leaving Cal, he quickly became one of the most sought after transfers in the country.

After landing on Ohio State, Sueing sat out the 2019-20 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

In 2020-21, his first season on-court year at OSU, Sueing averaged 10.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. He was a force on both ends for the Buckeyes, featuring as one of their top threats on offense and one of their top impact players on defense, getting steals and guarding multiple positions in all games. Sueing is also a fantastic rebounder, making his value on the court that much greater.

WHAT’S NEXT: Sueing did a great job for the Buckeyes over the season moving into whatever role they needed him to play. As a forward, it can be uncomfortable to be a point man, but when Jimmy Sotos and C.J. Walker were hurt, he did exactly that. Some criticized his performance in that role, but the context cannot go ignored.

Sueing had four double-doubles last season to lead the team, and was an elite defender. And at times, he stepped up and hit important shots for the Buckeyes or picked up a crucial rebound or steal.

This season, he will need to step up and be more of a threat on offense. When he came to Ohio State, he was known as someone who can create his own shot and create through contact. Sueing also shot 36% from three-point range and 75% from the free throw line last season, so he is three-level scorer and can benefit by drawing fouls. Simply put, with Washington gone, Chris Holtmann needs to find ways to get Justice the ball. He can pretty easily be a 15-18 points per game scorer.

PROJECTED ROLE: Sueing will no doubt be a starter this season and has a good chance to play the most minutes on the team alongside E.J. Liddell. He averaged 28 minutes per game last season, but with the losses of Duane Washington and Musa Jallow, he will undoubtedly move that number above 30 minutes. During his sophomore season at Cal, he played almost 35 minutes per game and I expect his minutes this season to rival that.

Also, to his benefit when it comes to playing time, he can play the guard position as well as forward, so he can pretty much come in for anyone and guard multiple positions on the floor. When you have a player with the flexibility and versatility of Sueing, you utilize that in every way that you can.

Next up in the LGHL player preview series: Kyle Young