The 2021-22 Big Ten Conference Championship winning Ohio State Buckeyes added their second forward from the transfer portal on Thursday. Syracuse forward Eboni Walker announced on Instagram that she’s now a Buckeye.
Walker dons Scarlet & Gray after a season at Arizona State University before transferring to Syracuse for the 21/22 season. In six appearances, Walker averaged 22.3 minutes off the bench where she averaged 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds. Walker’s best performance came in her final game on Nov. 11 where the forward scored 12 points.
After that game, Walker didn’t play again. Syracuse medically ruled her out for the rest of the season, although details of the injury were never made public.
The Orange were a team in flux last season, with head coach Quentin Hillsman resigning on Aug. 2, 2021 after allegations of improper behavior and bullying from players. Those allegations led to 12 players entering the transfer portal.
Even so, Syracuse defeated Ohio State in the 21/22 season, during the B1G/ACC Challenge. In an offensive explosion, the Buckeyes lost their first game of the year, and only non-conference regular-season game, 97-91. The Dec. 1 game didn’t include Walker who already sustained her season-ending injury.
In Walker’s sophomore season with Arizona State, she started nine games and averaged 7.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. The 2019 Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year-winning forward entered Arizona State and averaged 6.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game.
For the Buckeyes, Walker’s addition is big. Ohio State played with three primary forwards in 2021-22: starter Rebeka Mikulasikova, and backups Tanaya Beacham and Taylor Thierry. Mikulasikova and Thierry both return but Beacham played her final year of eligibility, holding the title of the sixth player on the Buckeyes.
The Scarlet & Gray were 10th in the B1G in rebounding margin, being outrebounded on an average of 1.3 rebounds per game. Ohio State struggled mostly on the offensive boards. Head coach Kevin McGuff’s side was 11th in offensive rebounds. This is after the offseason in which Dorka Juhasz (UConn) and Aaliyah Patty (Texas A&M), both starters, transferred out of McGuff’s program.
It’s too early to know where Walker lands on the roster, but returning from an injury to a new team is a challenge. Thierry came on strong as one of the most athletic players in the B1G and Mikulasikova started every game during the championship season. Wherever Walker lands, there’s a strong chance that her experience gets her minutes on the court for the 22/23 season.
Walker has a third forward to compete against in Karla Vreš. Like Walker, Vreš announced her transfer to the Buckeyes this offseason from American University on May 10.