It’s April and you know what that means: Ohio State football’s spring game and 30 different tweets from Ohio State football beat writers about Ryan Day saying the same thing. Which means we are officially in football season for some people. However, us folks here at Land-Grant Holy Land and Bucketheads will always keep the basketball content rolling for the people who want it.
Last week, Connor and Justin went the analytical route and discussed what they thought the most important stat was to show a good offense. Connor went with offense efficiency rating and Justin went with the good ole fashioned points per game.
The results of the poll were not too painfully close, to Justin’s dismay.
Connor takes another one in this battle, and Justin falls farther behind after making a small push for a few weeks.
After 45 weeks:
(There have been two ties)
This week, the guys are debating which transfer they want Ohio State to land next. With the departures of E.J. Liddell and Malaki Branham to the NBA Draft and Justin Ahrens and Meechie Johnson entering the transfer portal, the Buckeyes should have two scholarships left to fill out their roster. That number would become three if Seth Towns chooses to move on.
The Buckeyes have already added Wright State transfer Tanner Holden (20.1 points per game, 7.1 rebounds per game, 2.7 assists per game) to the team. Holden also scored 37 points in Wright State’s NCAA tournament win in the first round (First Four). It was the first NCAA Tournament win ever for Wright State. Before long, the Buckeyes will have to add at least two more guys to fill out their roster. So the question is simple, which transfer do we want Ohio State hoops to land next?
Today’s question: Which transfer do we want Ohio State hoops to land next?
Connor: Jalen Bridges
Listen, I get it. There are a few point guards on the transfer market who are downright ballers that Ohio State could potentially grab. And I hope they’re able to land one of them! But if we’re talking needs, Ohio State’s biggest need is a big, strong forward who can score the basketball but also grab some rebounds. The Buckeyes were 12th in the conference in rebounding last season, they need to add some size with this next transfer. The point guard can wait.
The way I look at it is this: Are you more comfortable (hypothetically) with Bruce Thornton in the starting lineup or Gene Brown (3.5 points per game, 2.4 rebounds per game)? Personally, I’d rather the Buckeyes get another forward and roll with Thornton at point guard than a solid point guard playing alongside Brown. That’s why their next priority should be snagging someone who plays the three and/or four.
And to fill that spot, I nominate Jalen Bridges.
Bridges — a Fairmont, W. Va. native — stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 220 pounds. He’s roughly the same size as Justice Sueing, give or take a few pounds. Bridges averaged 8.4 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season at West Virginia, playing in the toughest conference in college basketball. He averaged roughly 27 minutes per game last season, a number that he would likely match — if not exceed — at Ohio State. He visited Ohio State in late March after entering the transfer portal.
He also was not one of the go-to guys on offense for a bad West Virginia team, taking only 6.7 shots per game. Three Mountaineers took more shots than Bridges last season, and as a result he was the fourth leading scorer on his former team. All of that goes to say that I don’t think Bridges has hit his peak yet — I think there’s more to be unlocked if he’s given an opportunity. Averaging close to 10 points and 5 rebounds as a sophomore at West Virginia tells me he could easily replicate those numbers as a junior at Ohio State, if not exceed them a little bit.
The Buckeyes wouldn’t need Bridges to suddenly blossom into an all-league type of player (although nobody would be upset if it happened). They need someone to come in and grab 6-7 rebounds per game, score right around 10 points per game, and help make up for the lack of size the Buckeyes have at center with Zed Key — who is 6-foot-8.
Ben Vander Plas from Ohio would also make sense in this spot, but BVP has already hit his ceiling at the collegiate level — we know what he can do, we’ve already seen it. I think Bridges’ ceiling may be higher than Vander Plas’. If one of the two were to blossom into an all-Big Ten type of player, it’s going to be Bridges, not Vander Plas.
Hopefully the Buckeyes are able to land the big man!
Justin: Nijel Pack
You know what they say about low-hanging fruit… it tastes the best or something like that. It was no secret that even before the transfer of Meechie Johnson, the Buckeyes would need to bring in a point guard to compliment Johnson and freshman Bruce Thornton following the departures of Jamari Wheeler, Jimmy Sotos, and Cedric Russell.
However, with the announcement that Johnson has entered the transfer portal and will be exploring other collegiate options, it is now paramount that Chris Holtmann and the staff add a point guard so that Thornton doesn’t have to play 40 minutes per game, or so that someone is not forced to play out of position, especially at the point guard position.
Ohio State fans saw that with Justice Sueing two years ago after CJ Walker and Jimmy Sotos were injured and even though Sueing was serviceable, it is not something they want to repeat. It isn’t good for anyone.
That being said, the transfer I want the Buckeyes to add is Kansas State point guard Nijel Pack. Pack is ranked as the No. 1 transfer in the portal by 247 Sports. He averaged 17.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.2 assists. He scored over 20 points seven times this season and over 30 points three times.
He is a dynamic scorer from all three levels and — best part yet — he is a plug-and-play guy who has three years of eligibility left. Ohio State pretty desperately needs a point guard, so they might as well go get the best one available. Also, he scored at an elite level at an already elite conference so there will be no questions about whether or not his game will transfer.
Which transfer do we want Ohio State hoops to land next?
This poll is closed
Jalen Bridges (Connor)
Nijel Pack (Justin)
Someone else (Comment or reply on Twitter)