clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

You’re Nuts: Who is the best Cincinnati basketball recruit in Ohio State history?

The choices are slim, but we’ve got a few heavy hitters from Hamilton (and surrounding) counties.

Duke v Ohio State Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

We strayed from the beaten path a bit last week with a Marvel-related question, and the number of votes in our weekly poll clearly reflect that. That’s fine, there’s no problem with changing it up every now and then!

For last week’s debate, both Connor and Justin created a starting five made up completely of Marvel heroes. Justin’s lineup of Black Panther, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Mr. Fantastic, and Luke Cage took home 71% of the vote, so he was the big winner.

After 63 weeks:

Connor- 28
Justin- 26
Other- 7

(There have been two ties)

This week, we’re pivoting back to our city by city breakdown of the all-time greatest Buckeyes. Clark Kellogg was our winner from Cleveland. Jimmy Jackson was our Toledo winner. This week we’re headed south and talking about Cincinnati.

The Queen City hasn’t put out the same quality of players that Toledo and Cleveland have, sure, but there have been plenty of solid players out of that city that eventually found their way to Columbus.

Today’s question: Who is the best Cincinnati basketball recruit in Ohio State history?

Connor: Jerry Lucas

2022 NBA All-Star Game Photo by Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images

Start in Cincinnati, hop on I-75 and head north for about 35 miles. Eventually you’ll bump into Middletown, population 50,000. It is also the hometown of the greatest Buckeye of all time, Jerry Lucas.

I know Lucas isn’t from Cincinnati proper, so feel free to disqualify me. But he grew up about a half hour from Cincinnati and the choices for Buckeyes from the Queen City are slim ‘pickins to say the least. So while it may be a cop-out, I’ll drop the God card here and nominate Jerry Lucas.

Lucas’ No. 11 hangs in he rafters at the Schottenstein Center, and for good reason. Teaming up with future legends John Havlicek and Bobby Knight, Lucas led Ohio State to its only national championship in program history in 1960. They defeated the defending champions Cal Golden Bears in San Francisco, delivering the first title to Columbus in its history. Ohio State has not won a national championship since, spanning 62 years.

Lucas led that team in scoring at 26.3 PPG and 16.4 rebounds per contest. He was also named to the All-American team that season, as well as the next two seasons, making him a three-time All-American. Lucas was also named the AP Player of the Year during the 1961 and 1962 seasons, making him one of very few players to win multiple POY awards.

Following Ohio State’s national championship season, Lucas led them right back to the final game again, where they were defeated by the Cincinnati Bearcats. Regardless, Lucas’ Buckeyes had a combined record of 78-6 during his three years with the program. He is widely regarded as the greatest Ohio State basketball player of all time, as well as one of the best in the history of the Big Ten Conference and in college basketball in general.

Lucas was also a seven-time NBA All Star and an NBA Champion, but this debate only focuses on college so we’ll leave those details out of this.

Justin: Robin Freeman

My pick was pretty simple for this one. Robin Freeman shattered records as a scorer at Ohio State and cemented himself as not only one of the best scorers in Ohio State history, but in Big Ten history.

Freeman played at Ohio Stare from 1953-1956 after he had an illustrious career in high school. He is from Cincinnati and went to Hughes High School, averaging 39.5 points per game during his senior season, setting an Ohio high school scoring record.

He was only 5-foot-11 and 160 pounds, but as a junior he averaged 31 points per game for the Buckeyes and 32 points per game as a senior. He only played 13 games his junior season and was still named a Second Team All-American. His mark of 32.9 points per game during his senior campaign was good for second in the NCAA and earned him a spot as a First Team All-American. He was the first repeat All-American in Ohio State hoops history, and was the first player in Big Ten history to average 30 or more points per game in back-to-back seasons.

Freeman was selected by the Saint Louis Hawks in the 1956 NBA Draft, but in a pretty shocking turn of events, he never played in the NBA after severing two of his fingers chopping wood. He ended up going to law school and became a lawyer in Ohio. He is also in the Ohio basketball Hall of Fame and the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame.

This one truly speaks for itself. Nobody else has the marks of Freeman, and if he would have played more his freshman and sophomore season, he would own every single Ohio State scoring record.


Who is the best Cincinnati-area basketball recruit that went to Ohio State?

This poll is closed

  • 87%
    Jerry Lucas (Connor)
    (130 votes)
  • 12%
    Robin Freeman (Justin)
    (18 votes)
148 votes total Vote Now