Chris Holtmann, Jake Diebler, and the Ohio State men’s basketball staff landed one of the biggest fish in the transfer pool today with the announcement that Minnesota forward Jamison Battle will transfer to Ohio State for his final year of eligibility.
Battle, a 6-foot-7, 220-pound forward from Robbinsdale, Minnesota, spent his first two seasons at George Washington, where he averaged 13.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game over 45 games. He shot 42.9% overall at George Washington, including 36.3% from three-point range.
He then transferred closer to home in 2021, where he led the last-place Golden Gophers in scoring during the 2021-2022 season at 17.5 points per game — this was also the seventh-highest mark in the Big Ten. The jump from the A-10 to the Big Ten didn’t impact his production, as Battle actually set career-highs in nearly every stat category during his first year at Minnesota.
His production and efficiency dropped off pretty steeply as a senior last year, however. Battle averaged 12.4 points per game, but on a career-low 37.1% shooting overall and only 31.1% from three. He averaged 3.8 rebounds per game — over one full rebound shy of his career average — and shot 78.1% from the free throw line.
Battle scored in double digits in 44 of his 56 games at Minnesota, with his career-high of 39 points happening back on February 27, 2022 in a home loss to Indiana. In three career games against Ohio State, he averaged 12.3 points and five rebounds per game, while going 6-22 (27.3%) from beyond the arc.
THIS. IS. MARCH.— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) March 3, 2023
JAMISON BATTLE WITH A BUZZER BEATER FOR @GopherMBB
Adding Battle to the 2023-2024 Ohio State team fulfills two needs — adding a perimeter threat as well as adding a forward with length who can fill in one of the forward positions vacated by Justice Sueing and (potentially) Brice Sensabaugh.
Battle has never graded out as an elite shooter with a career three-point mark of 35%, but he did shoot higher than 35% in three of his four seasons before a huge regression this past year pulled his career average down. He’s averaged seven three-point tries per game each of the past two seasons, which places him top-three in the Big Ten each year in attempts from beyond the arc. His most recent season looks like an outlier, and it could have something to do with playing on a horrendous Minnesota team that averaged just 63 points per game.
Second, Ohio State will most likely need to fill both starting forward positions if Sensabaugh stays in the NBA Draft. Incoming freshmen Scotty Middleton and Devin Royal both look like they have the potential to be stars eventually, but it’s a big ask to start both side-by-side right away. Battle will step in and assume one of those two spots, and also bring experience to a team that will start multiple underclassmen regardless. This team may not need Battle to score 17 points per game on 14 shots per night like he did as a junior at Minnesota, but it will need him to be a consistent double-digit scorer night in and night out.
Battle was not ranked by 247Sports coming out of Minneapolis’ De La Salle High School, but Rivals had him as a three-star recruit. Upon announcing he was transferring on March 16, Battle was contacted by Ohio State as well as up to 20 other schools, including Xavier, Butler, Indiana, Clemson, Oklahoma, Iowa State, Utah, LSU, Santa Clara, Nebraska, Illinois, Arkansas, Wake Forest, Oklahoma State, Cincinnati, and Villanova. He visited Ohio State in late March to meet with the coaching staff and check out the facilities and campus.
247Sports rated Battle as the No. 25 transfer available in the transfer portal this year. On3 had him listed as the No. 15 transfer available. If Sensabaugh returns, he will slide into the other forward position next to Battle. If Sensabaugh leaves, it will likely be Middleton or Royal starting alongside Battle.