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You’re Nuts: What would you grade the Ohio State men’s basketball frontcourt this season?

The Buckeyes’ two leading scorers were forwards, but they weren’t exactly deep at the position.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament First Round - Wisconsin vs Ohio State Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Okay folks. We are back like we never left.

Last week on “You’re Nuts”, we graded the Ohio State men’s basketball backcourt this past season — the freshmen Bruce Thornton and Roddy Gayle as well as transfers Sean McNeil and Isaac Likekele.

Check that out below.

After the votes were tallied, Connor won this one with his grade of a C. Shoutout the one person who voted them an A, though. We appreciate the positivity, as does the team after a bungled mess of a season.

Here are the current standings as we approach 100 weeks of doing this.

After 93 weeks:

Justin- 41
Connor- 37
Other- 11

(There have been four ties)

This week, we are sticking to the script and grading the frontcourt. As a note, this will NOT include Zed Key and Felix Okpara, as we will grade them next week as centers on their own. We’re looking at Brice Sensabaugh, Justice Sueing, Tanner Holden, and Gene Brown.

Let’s ride.

Today’s Question: What would you grade the Ohio State men’s basketball frontcourt this season?

Connor: C

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

The Buckeyes had two forwards who enjoyed objectively good seasons in Brice Sensabaugh and Justice Sueing, and two forwards who either did not play or weren’t featured when they did play in Tanner Holden and Gene Brown. It seems silly to give the second-worst team in the Big Ten a good grade at any spot, really, so I will give the frontcourt the same grade the backcourt — C.

If you pinned my ears back and forced me to grade each of the four forwards individually I’d probably go with this:

Brice Sensabaugh: A
Justice Sueing: B-
Eugene Brown: C
Tanner Holden: D

Sensabaugh and Sueing get good grades from me. Sensabaugh exploded onto the scene as a freshman and not only led Ohio State in scoring, but was one of the top freshmen in the entire country. His rebounding improved later in the season, and he even dished out the occasional assist.

Even if the results weren’t there on defense (this is a major concern for him at both the college and NBA levels) the effort at least improved as the season advanced. You can’t have a freshman average over 16 points per game and not give him an A. He carried this lifeless body of a team for much of the season.

Sueing got a ton of flack, criticism, and venom from Ohio State fans this year for an extended poor stretch of play during the middle of the season that eventually led to him being benched for a few games. Frustration with repeated poor performances is reasonable, but proclaiming that the team would be much better without such an “awful” player is, quite literally, being a prisoner of the moment.

Sueing ended the season averaging 12.3 points per game on 42.4% shooting. His three-point shooting was a career-worst 28.9%, but he did finish the year by knocking down 12 of his final 24 from beyond the arc, including going 10-19 in the Big Ten Tournament.

Compared to expectations for his final season, Sueing underperformed. But if we’re just looking at a blank slate, he was still a productive player for the Buckeyes, and even earned Big Ten Honorable Mention honors.

Gene Brown, or “Gene Bean” as his teammates like to call him, missed the first few games of the season dealing with the after-effects of a concussion suffered in a pre-season practice. Once he returned, he bounced in and out of the rotation, averaging 10 minutes per game and making one start. The 6-foot-7, 195-pound wing was asked to guard opponents of all sizes this season, from smaller guards to a 7-foot-4 giant in the Big Ten Tournament.

Brown’s effort and willingness to do whatever is asked of him has never wavered. His production, especially on the offensive end, has. He’s not a featured piece of the offense when he’s in, and therefore doesn’t do much scoring. You can’t wholly blame Brown for this, as he did shoot north of 50% this season on just 32 shot attempts. But ideally you get more production from a third year player who has been in the program the entire time he’s been in college.

For reasons unbeknownst to us, Tanner Holden completely fell out of the rotation by February. He averaged 3.6 points per game and shot at or close to 50% from both the three-point line and overall, but he registered eight DNP’s down the stretch. Perhaps it was practice or an attitude issue — we may never know. But Holden went from a 20-point per game scorer at Wright State to an end of the bench piece for the Buckeyes. Certainly, that’s not what anyone involved — including you or I — had in mind for him.

Justin: B

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Quarterfinals - Michigan State vs Ohio State Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

This one is really difficult, because depending on how you view these players positions, there could be two or four players in this category. Tanner Holden and Eugene Brown are more of a combo guard/forward, but for this activity we will put them in the frontcourt.

First of all, it is kind of crazy that this frontcourt possibly played with a lottery pick all season. And I am going to get out ahead of this in the beginning: I do not think Justice Sueing had as bad a season as some people would lead you to believe he did.

He wasn’t as great as some people expected and sometimes struggled to be what the Buckeyes needed him to be, but ultimately he finished as an honorable All-Big Ten selection and played some great basketball down the stretch of the season. And it is hard to get into a groove when you play two seasons in four years.

Nevertheless, the problem with this section for the team was with the two guys I previously mentioned, but that is not to say it was entirely their fault.

For Eugene Brown, he missed most of non-conference play while recovering from a concussion and it is hard to enter a rotation mid-season. He provided some great effort and defense off the bench, but never was able to provide much on offense, averaging 2.2 points per game this season.

For Tanner Holden, he was a 20-point per game scorer at Wright State and many expected him to come to Columbus and be one of their main contributors on offense. However, something happened halfway through the season that saw him fall out of the rotation and barely see the floor in late January and February.

Justice Sueing finished the season averaging 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. He was second on the team in scoring and third on the team in rebounds. He struggled at times with turnovers and offensive efficiency, but he cleaned that up towards the end of the season and played well during the Buckeyes strong finish to the season.

For Brice Sensabaugh, not much to say. He led the team on offense in pretty much every game, and while he struggled on defense, he is a freshman that was asked to do so much on this team. He was great all season.

I give this squad a B because ultimately, I think this position group had two of the best three players on the team. But they went 16-19.


How would you grade Ohio State’s frontcourt this past season?

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    (0 votes)
  • 15%
    B (Justin)
    (3 votes)
  • 45%
    C (Connor)
    (9 votes)
  • 40%
    D or F
    (8 votes)
20 votes total Vote Now