It’s early, but Ohio State currently has the No. 4 recruiting class in the nation for the class of 2023 behind Duke, Purdue, and Indiana. Their class is made up of four-star combo guard George Washington III (Louisville, KY) and three-star center Austin Parks (St. Marys, OH). In all likelihood, only four players on the current roster will still be on the team two years from now. Because of that, Chris Holtmann and his staff will certainly be adding one — if not two — more players to this recruiting class. But who?
Last week, we talked about which former Buckeye hoopers we were positive would have long NBA careers. Connor went with the ruthless lefty Deshaun Thomas, while Justin picked William Buford and his silky-smooth jumper. 63% of the voters sided with Connor, while the remaining 37% agreed with Justin’s Buford choice.
Your current standings:
After 40 weeks:
(There have been two ties)
This week, the guys put their recruiting caps on and dished on which 2023 recruit they’d like to see pick up the Ohio State cap next. One went for the home run, and the other kept it closer to home.
Today’s Question: Which 2023 basketball recruit do you want Ohio State to go after next?
Connor: Dailyn Swain (Columbus Africentric)
While he’s not the highest ranked forward still available in 2023, Columbus Africentric’s Dailyn Swain is one of the best prep players in the state of Ohio and plays a position Ohio State will desperately need to reload in each of the next two seasons. The 6-foot-6, 175-pound small forward recently led the Nubians to their first Columbus City League title in 17 years. Swain had 24 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocks in the 65-58 victory over Beechcroft.
Swain is a four-star recruit who is the No. 98 player in the country, the No. 23 small forward and the second-best player in the state of Ohio, according to 247Sports. He prides himself on being able to facilitate an offense, slash to the basket, and is continuing to improve his jumper. He spoke to Jamie Shaw of On3 recruiting last month about his game, telling him,
“I am a big guard, a leader for my team,” Swain told On3. “I feel I can do anything on the floor, facilitate, score, get my teammates involved. I’ve improved my shooting and gotten stronger. I’m able to play through the contact, being able to fight through the contact and still make the passes and get buckets.”
Once he adds a bit of weight (he’s still just a high school junior) Swain would play a versatile role for the Buckeyes, likely rotating between the two, three, and four when needed. He doesn’t quite have the size of E.J. Liddell or Brice Sensabaugh of the 2022 class, but Holtmann loves having versatile pieces to move around offensively and defensively. Swain would certainly do that.
Swain also grew up an Ohio State fan in Columbus and receiving an offer from Ohio State last summer meant the world to him. After getting the offer in June of 2021, he told 247Sports Steve Helwagen, “(It) meant a lot because growing up in the city and it’s in your hometown, it’s such a big school. It really felt good. It was important to me. It definitely feels great.”
Ohio State hasn’t recruited a ton of local talent since Holtmann took over in 2017, averaging roughly one Ohioan per class. That isn’t wholly on him, however, as the talent pool in the Buckeye state has taken a slight dip since Thad Matta’s days in Columbus.
Swain would be the second Ohioan in this recruiting class and the second Columbus kid (Malaki Branham) he’s brought onboard so far. You always want to dominate the backyard, and adding Swain would do that plus give him another versatile player who can contribute in the frontcourt and backcourt.
Swain has not released a final list of schools, but has received offers from Arizona State, Cincinnati, Marquette, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, and Ohio University. 247Sports has Ohio State as the most likely to land Swain, but does not have any crystal balls entered as of now.
Justin: Mackenzie Mgbako (Gill St. Bernard’s HS)
You know what they say: Go big or go home. For the Buckeyes, getting Mgbako would obviously be as big as it gets.
Mackenzie Mgbako from Gill St Bernard School in Gladstone, New Jersey is a clear five-star recruit and is the third overall recruit in the 2023 class and the top player at the small forward position. The 6-foot-8, 200 pound forward is one of the top targets for most of the elite programs in the country.
The 2023 prospect hasn’t officially narrowed his school list, but he has taken official visits to only Kentucky, Duke, Memphis and Ohio State. On this list, the Buckeyes feel like the clear fourth team that has the chance to get Mgbako. Most of the recruiting services have him crystal balled to Duke or Kentucky with there being a gap between those two schools and the other two.
Ranking the contenders (1-4) for 2023 five-star Mackenzie Mgbako.— Joe Tipton (@TiptonEdits) February 21, 2022
Kentucky, Duke, Memphis, and Ohio State.
Mgbako has not given a commitment date, but there is no belief he will do it until at least after summer. He received offers from blue blood and top schools North Carolina, Auburn, Kansas, Georgetown and UCLA.
Mgbako is a long, athletic forward that can score the ball at three levels and was very happy when he came away from Ohio State earlier in the fall. With his position and skillset, he would pair well with the guys they already have committed in the 2023 class. Point guard George Washington and center Austin Parks.
“It was amazing,” Mgbako told On3’s Joe Tipton of his OSU visit. “I went to the football game against Akron. It was a great atmosphere, the fans were crazy. I met up with Meechie Johnson and Zed Key so that was nice as well. Just a great atmosphere, love the fans, love everything that has to do with it. I’ve built a great relationship with Coach Tony Skinn.”
Even if the Buckeyes are not able to land the top small forward, it is telling that they are even in the hunt. Kentucky and Duke are the top two recruiting programs in the country and Memphis, even though they have had their struggles on the court, have signed some of the top recruits over the past couple of recruiting classes (James Wiseman, Emoni Bates, Jalen Duren).
It is a long shot, but if you give me one guy I want the Buckeyes to get, why not make it the top guy?
Who do you want Ohio State to pursue?
This poll is closed