The “Bucketheads” have now done “You’re Nuts” for over a year, as we move into the 55th week of the two of us debating pure nonsense. But hey, thanks for tuning in, and we are excited to give you another year of Buckeye and Big Ten hoops content (and some Marvel stuff along the way, probably).
Last week, we talked about which Big Ten team we thought will have the largest drop off from last season. Not necessarily that they will be bad, but team that might fall off some from where they were last season. Connor picked Purdue and Justin picked Rutgers, and by the skin of his teeth, Connor’s pick of Purdue took the cake.
And now after a whopping 54 weeks, here are the standings. Justin was on a roll but now Connor is on a two week winning streak.
After 54 weeks:
(There have been two ties)
This week, we are talking about which 2024 hoops recruit the Buckeyes should prioritize now that the coaches and staff can contact recruits directly. The recruiting ‘dead period’ is over, and Chris Holtmann and Co. are reaching out to tons of 2023, 2024, and 2025 recruits.
Today’s question: Which 2024 hoops recruit should the Buckeyes prioritize?
Connor: Tyler McKinley
Give me the muscle. Give me the beef. Give me big, bad Tyler McKinley out of Walnut Hills down in Cincinnati.
McKinley is the No. 60 player in the 2024 class, the No. 10 power forward, and the No. 1 player in the state of Ohio (subject to change, certainly). The kid is 16 years old and already has the build of a Big Ten basketball player at 6-foot-8 and 210 pounds. Making sure that McKinley is a Buckeye makes sense for so many reasons, and early on it looks like Ohio State might have the inside track.
First of all, Ohio State should have the roster space and positional availability for him to join the team in 2024 and play meaningful minutes as a freshman. As of today, the only two forwards who will still be on the roster in 2024 are Kalen Etzler (who would be a RS junior) and Brice Sensabaugh (who would be a junior). There are zero players in Ohio State’s 2023 class who are forwards, although that could change if/when one of Devin Royal and/or Dailyn Swain commits. But for now, the power forward position is wide open two years down the road.
Second, assistant coach Jack Owens was the first to offer McKinley a scholarship — back when he was the head coach of the Miami Redhawks (before he was fired). McKinley and Owens had already hit it off, although it’s hard to believe a top-60 recruit would’ve wound up at Miami. When Owens was hired at Ohio State, it made OSU an even more attractive option, as two of his biggest recruiters — Holtmann and Owens — were now on staff together.
Monumental first EYBL session for Tyler McKinley in Indy. The Ohio native presented upside as the top 2024 big prospect.— Max Feldman (@MaxFeldman6) April 25, 2022
6-9 @all_ohio big is at his best as a mid-post creator & release valve. Elite hands, versatile playmaking, high level processing & strong spatial awareness. pic.twitter.com/a2uMZGnPeZ
Still just now entering his junior year, McKinley is taking advantage of being bigger, taller, and stronger than most of his competition. A fine shooter but not great, he makes his money down around the basket, where nobody can match his physicality. He’s already shown the ability to finish strong with both hands, and will pull up from that 10-15 foot range if need be. He’s a high-motor guy who will fight to corral his own misses and contest shots at the rack. With time, his game will become more polished and the hustle he shows will just be a cherry on top.
Holtmann and Ohio State were the first to recruit McKinley, and he took an unofficial visit back in September.
Had a great unofficial visit to The Ohio State University yesterday. Thank you @OhioStateHoops @ChrisHoltmann for having me. #NotCommited #Buckeyes #BuckeyeNation pic.twitter.com/C5J5RLJ84e— TXM35 (@txm35) September 27, 2021
He then visited again in May after Owens was hired, and the Buckeyes extended him a scholarship offer the same day.
Blessed to receive a scholarship from The Ohio State University @OhioStateHoops #GoBucks ❤️@LindarInsights @CoachRicardoHil @TuffyJunior @JFRAZE pic.twitter.com/NTwaxuyH2X— TXM35 (@txm35) May 4, 2022
McKinley spoke to Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch after the visit, telling him that he’s had a good relationship with Holtmann — and Owens — for over a year now:
“It’s been a good experience. When I first met him, he was a good guy. He was open arms. He’s always been there at games. He always sends assistants to see me play. There’s always been a good connection from the beginning. I think already having that connection with all the coaches and then adding coach Owens was the cherry on top. It all came together, full circle.”
Justin: Darren Harris
Let me be very upfront and honest here to begin with. I am from the DMV and always will support DMV recruiting. However, if you have seen any tape of Harris so far, you will agree that he is the real deal and this is not my DMV bias. This kid can hoop.
I mention my DMV ties because Harris plays his high school ball at St. Paul VI Catholic in Fairfax, Virginia. Harris was one of the players that Ohio State immediately reached out to once the dead period ended on Thursday morning, along with plenty of other top programs.
Top-50 2024 prospect Darren Harris has heard from Duke, Miami, Pittsburgh, George Mason, Ohio State, and Longwood, he told @Stockrisers. Can now hear directly from college coaches. This will be a popular name. Back from injury.— Jake (@jakeweingarten) June 15, 2022
Talented small forward from the DMV.
Any list that involves Duke and Longwood is always going to be interesting, but teams like Miami, Pittsburgh and Ohio State have had recent recruiting success, and could all be in the running for Harris along with the Blue Devils.
Other programs that confirmed interest and have contacted Harris are Maryland, Missouri and George Washington. Harris is already a top 50 guy in the rankings and is coming off an injury, so a big time junior season and a jump in the rankings would not be out of the norm.
Harris is a 6-foot-6, 195 pound small forward who is ranked No. 49 on 247Sports for the 2024 class, the No. 14 small forward in the class and the No. 2 player in the state of Virginia. Harris is currently rated as a four-star recruit. All of the numbers could go up or down, but with the talent that Harris has, as long as he stays healthy over the next year and a half, his place in the rankings will likely rise and he could become a major player in the 2024 class, if he is not already.
St. Paul VI Catholic is also a top prep program in the country in developing talent at the high school level recently. Duke’s Trevor Keels and Jeremy Roach as well as Michigan signee Dug McDaniel all came from the Fairfax school, and they continue to produce top talent with guys like Harris.
Back in February, Harris told Stockrisers Jake Weingarten, “I know they play in a great conference, and Coach Tony Skinn talks to me the most, and he’d say I’d be a great fit there,” about Ohio State.
Skinn obviously is now gone from Ohio State and is at Maryland, who has also reached out to Harris, so it will be interesting to see if Jack Owens and Jake Diebler pick up where Skinn left off with Harris. It seems so, since the second the dead period ended the Buckeyes were in contact.
You’re Nuts: Which 2024 hoops recruit should the Buckeyes prioritize?
This poll is closed
Tyler McKinley (Connor)
Darren Harris (Justin)