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Ohio State men’s basketball: Transfer portal update

Who could Ohio State be adding next out of the portal?

NCAA Basketball: Ohio at Louisiana State Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports

Now that college basketball has crowned a champion and moved into the offseason, coaches are attempting to finalize their rosters for next season. Whether you like the transfer portal or not, it is here to stay and so far this offseason there have been 1,400 Division I players in the transfer portal.

Ohio State has already used the portal to their advantage, bringing in Tanner Holden from Wright State. Holden averaged 20.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last season. Holden was one of the top guys to hit the portal and he said Ohio State was the first program to contact him, so the Buckeyes wasted no time in bringing in some scoring.

However, with at least eight or nine scholarship guys heading out of Columbus this offseason, and just five freshmen coming in, the Buckeyes will need to get more than just Tanner Holden out of the transfer portal, no matter how good he is. Thankfully, Ohio State has been extremely active since they were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament by Villanova.

The scholarship situation for the Buckeyes is finally starting to take shape with the news that Justice Sueing is returning and Meechie Johnson and Justin Ahrens have entered the portal. E.J. Liddell and Malaki Branham entered the NBA Draft and Liddell is surely going to keep his name in the draft while Branham is very likely to as well.

With Seth Towns officially returning to Columbus, OSU will have two scholarships left to give. They do not have to use all of them this season and could leave one for the 2023 recruiting class to go get a guy like Rayvon Griffith, but they will surely add one or two more transfers to the 2022 team.

These names are liable to change after players take visits, commit elsewhere, and other names hit the portal, but for right now, here are some names to look out for if you are looking for Ohio State to lock down some transfers.

Sean McNeil - West Virginia guard

McNeil is still on the bingo card even though his teammate at West Virginia and Ohio State target Jalen Bridges committed to Baylor. The Buckeyes likely have two scholarships open and possibly three, but I still believe the Buckeyes need to add a point guard. Especially with the departure of Meechie Johnson.

McNeil is known for his shooting but he is more versatile than just that. McNeil averaged 12.2 points per game and 2.5 rebounds per game. These numbers should be taken with context though, since West Virginia is known for how slow they play. McNeil’s numbers will inevitably go up with the Buckeyes based on tempo alone.

Nijel Pack - Kansas State guard

Pack is one of the best scorers still left in the portal and would be a pretty nice addition to Holden. He would come in and immediately be a top scorer for the Buckeyes after averaging 17.4 points and 3.78 rebounds per game. During his freshman season, Pack started in every game for the Wildcats and averaged 12.7 points per game. Pack has played in 53 career games and started in 52 of them.

A guy who immediately made an impact at a high major school and scored the ball at a high level in his first two seasons would be huge for this Ohio State team who needs their transfers to play Day 1 of this season. Pack has already visited Ohio State, Miami and Purdue and all three should be considered favorites. They are also all pretty desperately in need of a point guard.

Pack is one of the top priorities for the Buckeyes and he should be.

Jermaine Couisnard - South Carolina guard

Couisnard was a late add to the Buckeyes interest list and is an interesting one for the fit of the Buckeyes. Couisnard comes from South Carolina and most importantly, a phenomenal head coach in Frank Martin.

Couisnard averaged 12.0 points, 3.2 assists, and 2.5 rebounds per game while also being a true two-way player and normally guarding multiple positions for the Gamecocks. He is another guy that will come in and make an immediate impact, likely at the 2 with Holden at the 3 and Sueing at the 4.

Manny Bates - NC State forward

Bates is another interesting guy because he is coming off of an injury where he did not play most of last season and Ohio State already has Zed Key coming back at the 5 and Felix Okpara coming in. With the limited scholarships that the Buckeyes have — and the current need for a point guard — it is yet to be seen how much Ohio State is prioritizing going after a center.

However, Bates is a solid one who can be a real force down low and is an elite shot blocker at 6-foot-11 with a large frame. Adding to the list below is Butler, who Bates recently visited with.

Ben Vander Plas - Ohio forward

Vander Plas was one of the more talked about and obvious fits to the Buckeyes right when he hit the portal. Last week, Jeff Goodman confirmed that Vander Plas had narrowed his list and the Buckeyes were on it. Vander Plas averaged 14.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He is a stretch 4 that really would fit like a glove on the Buckeyes.

One of the problems is his dad played at Virginia and Bennett Vander Plas is named after Virginia head coach Tony Bennett. So there is that.

Antonio Reeves - Illinois State guard

Reeves is another player that can immediately come in and be a bucket-getter for the Buckeyes. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 20.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in over 35 minutes per game for Illinois State. He also shot 39% from three-point range and is a three-level scorer.

Reeves is one of the more quiet recruitments out there right now, but so was Tanner Holden. Adding Holden and Reeves would be adding over 40 points per game to an offense that desperately needs it.