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Where does Ohio State men’s basketball stand with key 2024 recruits?

The Buckeyes are probably capped at two recruits for the 2024 cycle. Who are they going to target?

Photo courtesy of 247Sports

The 2022-23 college basketball season is nearly upon us, as rims will be rattling and sneakers will start squeaking in about three weeks’ time. Ohio State is integrating a five-man freshman class this season that ranked in the top 10 in the nation, headlined by Roddy Gayle, the No. 46 player in the 2022 class and the highest-ranked freshman on OSU’s roster.

Ohio State will bring in four more freshmen next season, and that class currently sits inside the top five in the nation, according to 247Sports. That class is highlighted by 6-foot-6 forward Scotty Middleton, the No. 39 player in the nation and the seventh-best small forward in the 2023 class. The class also includes combo guard Taison Chatman, forward Devin Royal from nearby Pickerington Central High School, and three-star, 6-foot-9 center Austin Parks.

With nine freshmen and sophomores penciled onto next season’s roster (barring any changes), there won’t be many spots for the upcoming 2024 class. We also can’t forget that Zed Key, Gene Brown, and Kalen Etzler will all have eligibility for the 2024-25 season as well. This means that there is an even dozen players who are either playing for Ohio State right now or are committed in the 2023 class who will hypothetically be on the roster come 2024.

Clear as mud, right? The point is, Ohio State’s 2024 recruiting class is not going to be as large as the five-man class in 2022 (the current freshmen) or the four-man class in 2023. An already young roster will probably add two players in the 2024 class. But who? Chris Holtmann and his staff have been keeping in contact with several big men as well as multiple four-star point guards.

Let’s run down a few of the 2024 recruits the Buckeyes are keeping tabs on:

Darren Harris

Four-star forward Darren Harris, the No. 45 player in the 2024 class, recently included Ohio State in his final four schools. The 6-foot-6, 195-pound prospect out of Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax, VA listed the Buckeyes alongside Miami, Duke, and Maryland. Harris does not have a timetable for when he will make a decision.

Both Ohio State and Miami offered scholarships in late September, and Harris trimmed his options down to four last week. Harris’ wide frame, college-ready size, and smooth shooting stroke from outside is something Ohio State — and the three other programs — will covet, but the leader in his recruitment might be Maryland.

In an interview with 247Sports last week, Harris described Maryland as, “the hometown favorites” and said he has a close relationship with Maryland assistant coach and former Ohio State assistant Tony Skinn. Harris also said he has taken unofficial visits to Ohio State, Duke, and Maryland, and is working on scheduling OV’s with Duke and Maryland. He did not mention setting up additional visits with Ohio State or Miami.

AJ Swinton

AJ Swinton, a 6-foot-5, 180-pound forward from Oak Hill Academy, was recently offered a scholarship by Ohio State while on an unofficial visit Sept. 24. Swinton saw the Ohio State football team blow out Wisconsin at the Horseshoe with his family and head coach Chris Holtmann.

Swinton is a three-star recruit, ranked No. 123 in the 2024 class according to 247Sports. He has played primarily below the basket, but told On3 recently that he wants to expand his game and be better with the ball in his hands. He also told On3 in that same interview that he’s heard, “the most from Ohio State” as well as Pittsburgh, Penn State, and Virginia Tech.

Swinton specifically said he likes how Ohio State is versatile with their lineups and how they’re trying to play at a faster pace. He also mentioned that they’re a “defensive oriented” program.

Swinton has not cut down any type of list, nor has he set a timeline for a decision.

John Mobley Jr.

John “Juni” Mobley Jr., from Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas, will announce his college decision this Sunday at a time that has yet to be specified. He is the No. 44 player in the 2024 class according to 247Sports, as well as the sixth-highest ranked point guard in the country and is a four-star recruit. He stands an even six feet tall and weighs 150 pounds.

Ohio State is in Mobley’s final six schools, next to LSU, Xavier, Creighton, Arizona State, and USC. His two most recent visits — Ohio State and Creighton — appear to be the favorites. Mobley visited Ohio State the weekend of Oct. 1-2, taking in the Ohio State vs. Rutgers football game with his family and the Buckeye coaching staff. Mobley received an offer from the Buckeyes back in June.

There is one Crystal Ball for Mobley on 247Sports, and it points in the direction of the Buckeyes leading up to Sunday’s announcement.

Jonathan Powell

Jonathan Powell, a lanky shooting guard from Centerville, picked up an Ohio State offer on May 2 while on an unofficial visit. Powell stands 6-foot-6 and 170 pounds, and already has an above-average shot from the perimeter. He is the No. 98 player in the 2024 class, the No. 2 player in the state of Ohio, and is a four-star recruit.

In addition to Ohio State, Powell has picked up offers from Alabama, Cincinnati, Dayton, Illinois, Michigan State, Indiana, Notre Dame, Xavier, and Texas A&M. He has not cut down a list, nor has he established a timeline for his decision yet.

Tyler McKinley

A true big man in every sense of the word, Tyler McKinley was the highest-ranked player in the state of Ohio back in May when he was offered by Ohio State. The 6-foot-9, 220-pound center has since transferred to Link Academy in Missouri (the same school Felix Okpara attended), where he will likely play his final two years of high school ball.

McKinley is a four-star recruit and the No. 42 player in the class of 2024, as well as the No. 8 center in the nation. With Key, Okpara, and Parks all possibly on the roster in 2024, it’s tough to predict McKinley’s fit with Ohio State two years down the road. Chris Holtmann is certainly interested, however, as he has been in contact with McKinley throughout the summer and traveled to Missouri last month to visit him at Link Academy.

McKinley told Stockrisers in July that Ohio State, Cincinnati, Xavier, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, Penn State, and West Virginia are the school most aggressively pursuing him. He specifically noted that Holtmann and his staff believe he’s more versatile than other programs see him, and that versatility is something they can work on to help him get to the NBA.

McKinley has not cut down a list or stated when he plans on making a college decision.

Raleigh Burgess

Chris Holtmann and his staff offered Burgess — the No. 137 player in the nation and the No. 4 player in Ohio — a scholarship during an unofficial visit in June. Burgess is 6-foot-10 and just over 200 pounds, but shot 35% from distance as a sophomore at Sycamore HS in Cincinnati. Burgess also visited Ohio State on Sep. 3 when the Buckeyes faced Notre Dame in the Horseshoe.

Burgess told Steve Helwagen of Bucknuts that he sees himself as more of a stretch-forward than a true center, and thinks there will be value in his ability to score both around the perimeter and down low. He said Ohio State assistant coach Jack Owens is in constant contact, and that the staff also sees Burgess as a versatile wing player, rather than solely a back-to-the-basket type of player.

The three-star forward has also been offered by Cincinnati, Indiana, Iowa, Ole Miss, Penn State, Purdue, Wake Forest, and Wisconsin. He has not given a timeline of when he plans to cut that list down, or where his next visits will be.