You never know how a transfer is going to pan out, especially when jumping from a lower conference to a higher one. Cedric Russell went from an all-league honoree in the Sun Belt two seasons ago to scoring just four points per game last season at Ohio State. DeVante’ Jones transferred out of the Sun Belt to the Big Ten as well, but continued to average double-digit points per game and essentially clinched Michigan’s NCAA Tournament ticket on his own. You just never know how these things will pan out.
But as far as transfer portal gambles go, Wright State’s Tanner Holden is one of the best bets Chris Holtmann could have made — and he’s about to cash in. Earlier today, Holden announced that he plans on transferring to Ohio State following three very successful seasons in the Horizon League.
Holden — a 6-foot-6 guard out of Wheelersburg, Ohio — is a two-time all-league honoree in the Horizon League and helped lead the Raiders to their fourth-ever NCAA Tournament appearance this past season. He had a game-high 37 points in Wright State’s opening round tournament win over Bryant during the First Four in Dayton, and scored 20+ points 20 different times last season. For the year, he averaged 20.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. He shot 49.7% overall, 34.1% from 3PT, and 79% from the free throw line. Holden averaged just over 35 minutes per game.
Tanner Holden is like that— SLAM University (@slam_university) March 17, 2022
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He was not rated by 247Sports nor Rivals coming out of high school, and did not receive any offers from power five programs. Toledo, Cleveland State, Ohio, Wright State, and a few others offered, and he wound up a Raider. After three tremendous seasons there, he entered the transfer portal and was one of the most sought-after players available this off-season. Other Big Ten programs such as Wisconsin also reached out to Holden, hoping to turn him into a Badger. Ultimately, Holden chose to stay in-state.
While it may be a bit much to expect him to keep up his torrid scoring jumping from the Horizon League, his floor is likely 10 or 11 points per game plus a few rebounds and assists per night. His ceiling may not be 20 points per game in the Big Ten, but he has the stuff to become Ohio State’s first or second option on offense.
He will contribute nearly as much — if not more — than Malaki Branham (13.7 PPG, 3.6 REB, 2.0 AST) did last season, and will most likely slot into Branham’s starting spot, assuming the Big Ten Freshman of the Year stays in the NBA Draft this summer. Holden will likely start at shooting guard while Meechie Johnson or incoming freshman Bruce Thornton runs point. Even with the addition of Holden, Chris Holtmann and Jake Diebler will still be on the hunt for another addition or two over the coming weeks and months.