Over the summer and into the pre-season, Chris Holtmann repeatedly told everyone how gifted a scorer Brice Sensabaugh was, how much of a mismatch he was, and much more. He went so far as to say he was the most gifted freshman he’s coached in terms of pure scoring ability — which includes Malaki Branham and E.J. Liddell, too.
Now, that praise has materialized and Sensabaugh is popping up on nearly every NBA mock draft. Is he as good as gone? We’ll discuss in a moment, but first, a recap.
Last week, we debated which of Ohio State’s nine January games was the most important. Justin said it was Ohio State’s matchup with No. 1 Purdue, which coincidentally they lost last night, 71-69. Connor said it was the rematch at Rutgers on Jan. 15, after the controversial ending to Ohio State’s win over Rutgers on Dec. 8.
With 58% of the vote, Justin won. 27% of the people who read agreed with Connor, and the other 15% said it was one of the other seven games this month.
After 82 weeks:
(There have been four ties)
As stated at the top, we’re talking about big Brice Sensabaugh this week. He’s showing up in every mock draft, is leading Ohio State in scoring, and is priority No. 1 for opposing defenses as they prepare for the Buckeyes. We knew he’ll enter the NBA Draft at least, but is he a gone already.... in January?
This week’s question: Is Brice Sensabaugh a surefire one-and-done?
Connor: Yes, he’s good as gone
Enjoy him while you can, Buckeye fans, because Brice Sensabaugh will only be donning the scarlet and gray for about two more months.
Sensabaugh has shown some serious chops on the offensive end. He’s a three level scorer — shooting 52.8% overall and 46.6% from three-point land. He’s perfected the patented E.J. Liddell “green bean” jumper, where he pulls up from about 10 feet away and knocks down an off-balance fadeaway. He’s shown the ability to crash the offensive glass and score on putbacks as well, and is a ferocious dunker to boot. That right there is what NBA scouts care about.
About this time last year, Malaki Branham was averaging six points per game right before busting out in Big Ten play. He wound up being drafted in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft. As it stands, Sensabaugh is even more advanced than Branham was offensively at this stage of his freshman year.
Neither Sensabaugh nor Branham were especially developed on the defensive end by the end of their freshman season, but that didn’t stop the Spurs from taking Branham with the 20th overall pick last season. For the most part, teams want young, talented scorers who they think can step into the league and score right now. Defense, body weight, muscle mass, that can all be taught and improved on with time. But if buckets can be provided right now, that’s what matters the most.
Sensabaugh scored a ton against lower level competition, but has also played very well against some of the best teams in the country — Purdue and North Carolina, for example. If his production tapers off throughout league play, he may slip a little bit and his draft status could be murky. But right now he’s a projected first rounder, and I don’t think he’s going to fall off to the point where that changes between now and the end of March.
Justin: No, there’s a chance he could come back
So you’re saying there’s a chance?
I am writing this right after the Purdue game, and even I am questioning my own viewpoint on this, so give me a second to compose myself. Okay I am ready.
So here is the thing about my take on this. I am approaching this from the viewpoint of “please let him come back because him and Scotty Middleton could win a national title.”
I am only kind of kidding. I do think the fact the Buckeyes have another elite recruiting class incoming could help Sensabaugh decide to return, as they could be a legitimate top five team in the country next year if everyone that can return does in fact return.
I don’t think the question is about whether or not he is ready. He very clearly is on offense, and while his defense has a ways to go, so did Malaki Branham’s, and that didn’t really affect his draft stock.
I think it could come down to whether or not he thinks coming back for an extra year could 1) Let him compete with a better and more experienced team that could (I said could) have national title hopes, and 2) He thinks that one more year can be the difference between going late first round and being a lottery pick, which it very well could.
Also, Branham benefited from being on a team that wasn’t that deep from an offensive perspective. On this current team, while Sensabaugh is the Buckeyes go to guy, there will be games where Justice Sueing, Sean McNeil, Zed Key, Tanner Holden, and others have the hot hand and take some shots away from him.
In conclusion, he is likely gone, but it is only early January, and anything can happen. So I will say there is a chance. A slight chance, as it may be. Forever the optimist I am, apparently.
Is Brice Sensabaugh good as gone?
This poll is closed
Yep, he gone (Connor)
No, he may end up coming back (Justin)