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Player preview: Ohio State graduate forward Seth Towns

Can the Harvard transfer get back to his former self?

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we know what Duane Washington Jr. and E.J. Liddell have decided to do, it will make these player previews much easier and simpler. Liddell will be later down the line while obviously, Washington will not be getting one.

As we move into the heart of the Land-Grant Holy Land Ohio State basketball player previews, we jump into a guy that everyone in the country is anticipated to see play this season, Seth Towns.

WHAT HE HAS DONE: Maybe the most interesting man on the roster this season, Seth Towns has had his fair share of success. As a freshman at Harvard, Towns succeeded at the collegiate level almost immediately.

In high school, Towns was the No. 125 recruit in the nation and the ninth best recruit in the state of Ohio. He came from Northland High School in Columbus but chose Harvard and Tommy Amaker over Ohio State and Michigan.

Once he got to Harvard, he made his presence felt right away. As a freshman, he started 20 of the team’s 28 games, averaging 12.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. He shot 43% from the field and 39% from three-point range; all impressive numbers for a freshman.

As a sophomore, he took an even larger leap. Towns averaged 16.0 points and 5.7 rebounds while improving his three point percentage to 44%. He was named AP-All American honorable mention and was just the fourth player in Harvard history to receive that honor. He was also named Ivy League Player of the Year and was only the third sophomore to receive that award in league history.

Unfortunately, after his sophomore season, the injuries started.

He missed his junior and senior seasons due to a knee injury and was never able to get back on the court for the Crimson.

He graduated with two years of eligibility remaining so he chose to come home and play for Ohio State over heading down to Duke to finish out his career. Andy Katz listed him as the No. 12 overall returning player in college basketball in 2020-21 and was listed as the top transfer by ESPN.

During his first season with the Buckeyes, he averaged just 3.8 points per game and 2.2 rebounds per game; he was clearly not back to 100%. He played in 25 games but started in zero.

He showed flashes of his old self, getting up and over guys and hitting tough shots while contested, but he clearly needed another offseason to get completely right.

WHAT’S NEXT: The next step for Towns ultimately comes down to one thing, his health. If he is healthy, the skill level and talent is still very much there. We saw that last year at times and towards the end of the season, Towns was in the lineup late for Holtmann, showing the trust that the coach has in his transfer forward.

If he can come back strong and more athletic, the potential for him to average 20 and 7 per game is there. He is the second best deep-ball shooter on the team and can score at all three levels. The biggest concern will be with his knees and whether or not he can use his legs to propel him into a shot. Also, he has never been a great defender so his health could impact him on that end as well.

PROJECTED ROLE: With the departure of Washington Jr, there are a couple Buckeyes that will be impacted the most and Towns is one of them. Washington was going to give them a solid 20-25 points per game this season and now they need someone else to step up into that role.

Towns was a prolific scorer in high school and in his two years at Harvard. He struggled with his mobility last season, but there were times where he was able to show his old scoring prowess.

I expect Towns to be one of the first guys off the bench and play around 25 minutes per game. That was about what he averaged in his two years at Harvard, so don’t be surprised if they start him lower than that and work him up to 25 per.

As I mentioned above, he is an incredibly capable scorer and they will need him more now with Washington gone; they will need him on the court and healthy, especially come conference play time.

Another big thing he will bring is leadership. The Buckeyes will not be short on that with guys like Liddell, Jamari Wheeler, Kyle Young, Justin Ahrens and Justice Sueing, but Towns is a veteran who has been around the block and will be a voice worth listening too. Did I mention he graduated from Harvard?

If Towns is somehow 100% next season, there is no doubt that he is a potential game-changer for this team and an All-Big Ten type talent. Health is the only preventing him from achieving that this season.

Through the first month of the season, it is worth keeping a very close eye on how he moves up and down the court and whether or not he looks to be moving smoothly and pain free. The odds that he is ever back to being as health as he was in his Ivy League Player of the Year season is slim, but even at 85-90%, Towns can be an absolute killer on offense.

Next up in the LGHL player preview series: Justin Ahrens