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You’re Nuts: Which 2024 basketball recruit should Ohio State prioritize?

What class is Bryce James in, again?

High School Basketball: Montverde Academy Sunshine Classic-IMG Academy at Montverde Academy Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

After over 100 weeks of You’re Nuts ‘Bucketheads’ edition, we are back on the recruiting train. We are debating which 2024 recruit we think Chris Holtmann and the Buckeye hoops staff should prioritize, since there is a chance they can only take one more recruit in the 2024 class to join Juni Mobley.

Last week, we debated where we thought Brice Sensabaugh would go in the 2023 NBA Draft, since it is basically a guarantee he will stay in the draft now. Connor said somewhere between picks 14 and 18, and Justin said it would be a little bit later and more in the 24-28 pick range.

The majority (32 votes of 53 total) agreed with Justin’s prediction of picks 24-28.

Justin now has taken a four point lead over Connor. Here are the updated standings.

After 101 weeks:

Justin- 45
Connor- 41
Other- 11

(There have been four ties)

And now onto this week’s topic.

Today’s Question: Which 2024 basketball recruit should Ohio State prioritize?

Connor: Tyler McKinley

Photo by Brandon Jenkins - 247Sports

We did this prompt about a year ago, and I picked McKinley, a Cincinnati kid who recently transferred from Walnut Hills to Link Academy in Missouri. Since last year, he’s grown another inch to 6-foot-9, and still weighs between 220-230 pounds. And, despite there being some other 2024 players who are ranked a little higher, I think Ohio State should continue to put a full court press on for McKinley.

Depending where you look, McKinley is listed as both a center and a power forward. For Ohio State’s purposes, I think he’d be utilized as a power forward, since Felix Okpara would be a junior in the fall of 2024 and Austin Parks would be a sophomore. McKinley is shorter and slighter than Ohio State’s centers, and looks to be a bit more mobile than both of the Buckeye bigs.

Not only does Chris Holtmann and staff want to keep the best Ohio players in Ohio (McKinley lives in Missouri now, but he’s a Cincinnati kid), you also want to recruit as many tough, gritty guys as you can, and McKinley fits the bill. He’s not known for his jump shot at this point, but you’d be hard-pressed to find a tought below-the-basket player than McKinley in the 2024 class. Think Montrezl Harrell when he was at Louisville. He’s high energy, full effort, and really wears defenses down over the course of a full game.

McKinley cut his options down to seven schools this week, and Ohio State was there along with Michigan State, Xavier, Tennessee, Cincinnati, Alabama, and Virginia Tech.

Ohio State was one of the first teams to get involved with McKinley, but they weren’t the first to offer. That was Miami (OH) back in September of 2021, before McKinley had even started his sophomore season at Walnut Hills. The coach at Miami back in 2021 was, you guessed it, current Ohio State assistant Jack Owens. McKinley developed a strong relationship with Owens early in his recruitment, although it’s hard to see any scenario where McKinley, a top-100 player in the class, would’ve wound up in Oxford.

However, having both Owens and Holtmann at Ohio State gives the Buckeyes a leg-up in his recruitment. They also should have the positional availability, with Jamison Battle simply being a stopgap solution at power forward this season. Devin Royal will also see some minutes at that spot this year, but that’s not a position the Buckeyes are paticularly deep at as we shift our attention a year ahead to 2024.

I think Ohio State should recruitment players who are tough as shit, and I think Ohio State should also try to keep the best Ohio kids right here in Ohio. He’s a guy fans would grow to love, and Chris Holtmann and his staff are the right program for any big man looking to expand his game beyond just under the basket.

McKinley as already visited Ohio State on two unofficial visits including one visit after Owens was hired at Columbus. This is what he told Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch after his second UV:

“It’s been a good experience. When I first met him (Holtmann), he was a good guy. He was open arms. He’s always been there at games. He always sends assistants to see me play. There’s always been a good connection from the beginning. I think already having that connection with all the coaches and then adding coach Owens was the cherry on top. It all came together, full circle.”

Justin: Amier Ali

High School Basketball: HoopHall West Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Anytime you have the option to take a recruit away from John Calipari and Kentucky, you have to do that. Especially a recruit they are apparently talking to “daily”.

Amier Ali is a consensus top 25 recruit in the 2024 class, and with his 6-foot-8 frame, he has the potential to climb even higher.

Ali currently plays his high school ball at IMG Academy in Florida, but he is a Columbus kid. He grew up in Gahanna after moving there when he was five years old. He has called Ohio State a dream school, and visited the Buckeyes as early as his sophomore season.

He is a 6-foot-8 wing that can score at all three levels and works hard on the defensive end of the ball. His final list of eight schools he is considering is Kentucky, Texas, Arizona State, Florida State, Michigan, Alabama, Arkansas, and of course, Ohio State. This is a solid list of eight schools and Ohio State would be lucky to take him away from them.

Ali is also someone that most recruiting experts expect to take a leap over his senior season, because he has been on such a loaded roster and is now a senior with IMG.

Bringing in Juni Mobley and Amier Ali to complement the veterans that will be on the team like Thornton, Gayle, Okpara, Royal, Middleton, Chatman, and Parks would make Ohio State a serious contender at the national level. Just have to get Ali to sign on the dotted line.


Which 2024 basketball recruit should Ohio State prioritize?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    Connor: Tyler McKinley
    (22 votes)
  • 35%
    Justin: Amier Ali
    (14 votes)
  • 7%
    (3 votes)
39 votes total Vote Now