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BASKET-BOOOM! Three-star center and St. Marys product Austin Parks commits to Ohio State

The bruising northwest Ohio native is the second member of Ohio State’s 2023 recruiting class.

Photo courtesy of Steve Helwagen — 247Sports

When Chris Holtmann accepted the Ohio State job in 2017, he said one of his priorities on the recruiting trail would be to keep Ohio kids in Ohio. To, “get the Ohio kids back” and to dominate the backyard. Since then, Holtmann has secured commits from eight Ohioans. While the pipeline to Ohio State has by no means dried up, he’s averaging roughly one Ohio kid per recruiting class.

Well, the 2023 Ohio State recruiting class just added their first kid from the Buckeye state, as 6-foot-9 St. Marys center Austin Parks announced his commitment to Ohio State this afternoon in his high school gymnasium. Parks, a three-star center out of Memorial High School, had cut his choices down to West Virginia, Indiana, and the Buckeyes. He is the No. 148 player in the class, the No. 18 center in the country, and the sixth-highest rated player in the state of Ohio for the 2023 cycle.

Parks had scholarship offers from the three aforementioned finalists as well as Cincinnati, Dayton, Illinois, Toledo, Ohio University, and Michigan State. Ohio State offered him a scholarship on June 28, 2021 after an unofficial visit. Parks also visited on Sept. 18 of last season, accompanying Ohio State’s coaches and players to the football game against Tulsa after taking in the team’s practice that morning. Parks once again visited this past Sunday, taking in Ohio State’s 82-67 victory over Maryland at the Schottenstein Center.

Parks’ main recruiter has been OSU assistant Jake Diebler. In September, Parks told Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch how hospitable and kind Diebler has been throughout the entire process.

“I know he’s a coach and all, but he treats me like a friend,” Parks said. “He’s there helping me through my recruiting process and giving me tips on what I need to keep working on and keep doing. He’s one of those guys who will be there for you.”

Parks is 6-foot-9, 240 pounds. Still not even a senior in high school yet, he may be taller than that when he enrolls at Ohio State next summer. After years of fans calling for Holtmann to add some “traditional” big men, the Buckeyes will have both Parks and 6-foot-11 center Felix Okpara from the 2022 class on their roster come 2023. Current Buckeye Zed Key will be a senior in 2023, meaning Holtmann will have some serious size to work with.

He is the second member of Ohio State’s 2023 class, alongside four-star combo guard George Washington III (Louisville, KY). With the addition of Parks, Ohio State now has the fourth-ranked recruiting class in the country in 2023, behind only Duke, Purdue and Indiana. How many additional players the Buckeyes add to the 2023 class will likely depend on which upperclassmen utilize their “bonus” year granted by the NCAA due to COVID-19.