As the Ohio State men’s basketball team continues to spiral into the depths of despair, we are beginning to look down the road to next season, when the No. 6 recruiting class in the nation will join the program. Assuming no transfer shenanigans, Ohio State will add three four-star recruits and one three-star recruit to the program in the summer — on top of returnees Roddy Gayle, Bruce Thornton, and Felix Okpara, who were all four-star recruits as well.
But first, we must recap what we debated last week.
Last week, Connor and Justin debated which Big Ten team has been the biggest surprise — for better or for worse. Justin picked the Purdue Boilermakers, who sit at 22-1 overall, are the consensus No. 1 team in the country, and will be crowned Big Ten champions in roughly five weeks. Connor went with Ohio State, who was picked to finish fifth or sixth in the conference and is currently in 12th.
48% of the people sided with Justin, 35% of the people sided with Connor, and the remaining 17% went with “a different team.” Justin wins again.
After 86 weeks:
(There have been four ties)
As stated up top, we are discussing the 2023 recruiting class. Ohio State will need a few of their freshmen to be game-changers right away. Which one will do the most, the quickest?
Today’s question: Which 2023 commit will be the most impactful right away?
Connor: Scotty Middleton
I’ve got a secret to share with you about this Ohio State program that you may not know. Bring it in, I don’t want anyone else to hear.
This team is horrid on the defensive end.
This season, Ohio State is No. 84 in defensive efficiency. Last season they were No. 111. The year before that they were No. 82. For three straight years, this team has not been able to guard. They haven’t been able to guard the ball on the perimeter, they haven’t been able to guard the post. They haven’t been able to jump passing lanes and be disruptive. They haven’t been able to get back and guard in transition. All-around, just poo poo on defense.
But listen, Scotty Middleton is going to help with a lot of that.
Scotty is a 6-foot-6, 185-pound small forward who plays for Sunrise Christian Academy in Wichita, Kansas. He’s regarded as one of the best and most versatile wings in the 2023 recruiting class, and can fill it up on offense too!
If you want to know Scotty a little better, he joined Land-Grant Holy Land’s college basketball podcast, “Bucketheads” back in August to talk about his decision to commit to Ohio State, what he likes about the program, and his former teammate, Gradey Dick.
Middleton will put on a few pounds between now and November, but at 6-foot-6 he can play any position one through four and guard all those positions. He takes pride in his defense especially, and that is an area that Ohio State circled when recruiting him. He may not start for the Buckeyes right away, but he’ll be someone that Chris Holtmann can throw in at any point to guard any player other than the center.
The Buckeyes have consistently been an efficient, well-oiled offense. But lately the defense has lagged quite a bit, and is in need of reinforcements. I think that Middleton will be the best all-around defender Ohio State has had since Luther Muhammad, and Aaron Craft before them. Craft, Muhammad, and Middleton may be the best three Ohio State defenders of the past 15 years when all is said and done.
Justin: Bronny James
Alright, hear me out. There is this notion on the interwebs that Bronny James is not actually that good at basketball, and he only gets the recognition because he is LeBron’s kid. This is inaccurate. Bronny can ball.
I also very much recognize he may never play for Ohio State. If he doesn’t, my answer to this question is Taison Chatman. But assuming Bronny is a Buckeye, and not a Duck or a Trojan, let’s talk about it.
James is ranked as the 34th overall recruit in the 2023 class, the 11th ranked combo guard and the 11th ranked player in the great high school hoops state of California. He is a high four-star recruit. He would be the top recruit in the already fantastic Buckeyes 2023 class.
See for yourself.
Bronny is also a McDonald’s All-American. The last McDonald’s All-American that went on to play for the Buckeyes was D’Angelo Russell in 2014, who went on to be a First Team All-Big Ten selection, the second pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, and was a one and done.
There is also this idea that all Bronny would bring to Ohio State is unwanted attention. I am not even positive what that means. People who think LeBron would be at every game have to remember that he is still going to be playing in the NBA next season. He is busy — he would make it to some games I’m sure, but he would not be courtside at 30 games.
Plus, Bronny would put some people in the seats, which is never a bad thing. I am pro Bronny to Ohio State, as everyone should be.
This is the evaluation from 247Sports’ Eric Bossi after his junior season:
“Slowly but surely, Bronny James is starting to come into his own as a player on a loaded Sierra Canyon team,” Bossi said. “James’ 6-foot-3 frame has filled out nicely and he’s added some pop on drives to the rim through traffic or in transition. One of his strengths is his ability to make catch and shoot jump shots and he is a fantastic passer. James gives good effort on the defensive end where he plays with toughness and versatility. There are times where he can be a bit passive on the offensive end, but overall he has made positive strides as a junior.”
Which 2023 commit will be the most impactful right away?
This poll is closed
Scotty Middleton (Connor)
Bronny James (Justin)