One of the hot button issues in today’s college sports world is the increasing relevance of the transfer portal. Whether it is college football or basketball, players are moving around more than they ever have before, and whether you like it or not, it is not going away anytime soon. Coaches are learning to adapt or get left behind.
Ohio State basketball has a done a good job recently of toeing the line between bringing in transfers to fill holes, but also still recruiting high school players at a high level; some coaches around the country have turned to the transfer portal exclusively and have all but abandoned high school recruiting completely.
The reason that Ohio State has had to utilize the transfer portal of late is because they have lost a not insignificant number of players of their own to the portal. Head coach Chris Holtmann and his staff have done a good job bringing in transfers like C.J. Walker, Justice Sueing, Jamari Wheeler, Cedric Russell and others, but have also lost some highly recruited players as well.
Let’s take a look at some of the players that Ohio State has lost to the portal over the last three to four years and how they are currently faring in their new situations. When looking at the transfers, we are just going to dive into the most recent wave of departures; so the entire 2015 recruiting class that Thad Matta brought in — and eventually all transferred out — will not be included.
Muhammad was one of the more surprising transfers in the last couple of seasons as he started 56 of 64 possible games during his tenure at Ohio State, including 28 out of 30 during his sophomore season. In his two years with the Buckeyes, Muhammad averaged 7.3 points and 1.5 assists per game. Muhammad was known for his defensive prowess and became a fan favorite thanks to his hustle and passion on the court, especially on the defensive end.
He left after two seasons to take on more of an offensive role elsewhere and decided to head to Arizona State. Once he got there, he realized that he needed shoulder surgery and missed the entire 2020-21 season. So far this year, the bounce back has not been easy or smooth. Muhammad is averaging just 6.2 points per game and shooting 29% from the field and 16% from three-point range.
LeDee came into Ohio State and only lasted one season as a Buckeye, playing in 26 games and starting in two as a freshman. LeDee only averaged 3.0 points and 1.7 rebounds per game in 6 minutes of action per contest. After his freshman season, LeDee decided to head to his home state of Texas and play for TCU.
His first season at TCU, LeDee averaged 2.7 points and 2.9 rebounds per game in 11 minutes per game. His second season, he played 15 minutes a game and averaged 5.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. After two seasons at TCU, he decided to transfer to San Diego State, where he is currently sitting out one season and will presumably be back in action next season.
Carton was one of the more highly touted recruits in some time to come to Ohio State, but his tenure was short lived. Carton was a high four-star recruit and was ranked as the No. 32 player in the 2019 class. Carton played in 20 games and started three for the Buckeyes as a freshman. He played well in his short stint, averaging 10.4 points and 3.0 assists per game and shot 53% from the field and 40% from three-point range.
However, Carton left the team in order to tend to his mental health halfway through the season and ultimately transferred to Marquette.
With the Golden Eagles, Carton had an okay second season, averaging 13.0 points and 3.4 assists — but also 3.2 turnovers — per game, up from 2.6 his freshman season. He did play eight more minutes per game, but 3.2 turnovers each contest is a high number no matter how many minutes you play. After his sophomore season, he entered the NBA draft, but went undrafted. Carton signed with the Charlotte Hornets, but was waived two months later. Currently, he is playing in the G-League with the Greensboro Swarm.
Diallo has a great story as he came to Columbus from Senegal and had the coaching staff very excited about his potential as a 7-foot big man. Unfortunately, due to some ill-timed injuries, Diallo never got too much of an opportunity to showcase his talents for the Buckeyes. In two seasons at OSU, Diallo only played in 13 games — never starting — and averaged just 0.7 points in 3.5 minutes played per game. Diallo transferred to San Jose State to play under former Nebraska head coach Tim Miles.
So far, the change has been great to Diallo, who is averaging 23.9 minutes per game and 7.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per outting.
Gaffney came to Ohio State as another recruit the Buckeyes were extremely excited to see get on the court, but he never really did. Gaffney only played in 17 games as a freshman for the Buckeyes and averaged 1.8 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. He then decided to enter the NBA draft, but ultimately pulled his name out and transferred to Northwest Florida.
At Northwest Florida, Gaffney averaged 8.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in 21 games. He then decided to join Muhammad at Arizona State. This season with the Sun Devils, Gaffney is averaging 5.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in 12 games, starting six.
Jallow was another fan favorite that left Ohio State to pursue a more offense-focused roleelsewhere. Jallow played three seasons with the Buckeyes, mostly coming off of the bench and playing around 15 minutes per game. Jallow missed the 2019-20 season due to injury and also sat out the start of the 2020-21 season.
In his three seasons with Ohio State, he was known for his energy on defense and only averaged 2.8 points per game. After his fourth season on the Buckeyes roster, he decided to play out his collegiate career with Charlotte. Unfortunately, he missed the 49ers’ first 10 games due to injury, but in the two games after he returned, he is averaging 7.0 points per contest.
Potter is a good example as to what the transfer portal is ultimately made for. He played a little bit for Ohio State and was productive at times, but the fit was not quite right and he transferred to Wisconsin after two seasons with the Buckeyes. In Madison, Potter became a legitimate force and played great basketball after sitting out the 2018-19 season.
To compare and contrast, Potter averaged 4.1 points and 2.7 rebounds per game in two seasons with the Buckeyes. In two seasons with the Badgers, Potter averaged 11.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. Currently, Potter is playing for the Detroit Pistons on a 10-day contract after playing in the summer league with the Miami Heat and in the G-League for the Sioux Falls Skyforce.