Ohio State seeks identity with 10 newcomers on the list


Columbus, Ohio – Most of the Ohio State team roster has flipped since the Buckeyes finished their season in the second round of the last NCAA Championship.

Coach Chris Holtman will have a lot to learn about the identity of what is essentially a new team, with a respected nationally recruiting class and three prestigious transfers. Ohio will have 10 newcomers out of 14 on the list. Six players in the first year.

“Maybe except for our first year when we were doing a different training style, a different regimen, but it was more like ever with this number of guys,” Holtmann said.

Strikers Zed Key, Justice Sueing, and guard Eugene Brown III are three of the returning Buckeyes. Calin Itzler, the 6-foot-8 striker who was late to kindergarten a year ago is expected to make his college debut.

The Buckeyes went 20-12 (12-8 Big Ten) last season. They claimed seventh place in the NCAA Championship and were rebounded In the second round by second seed Vilanova.

Malaki Branham, Top Ten Student of the YearAnd the Veteran star EJ Liddell They were selected in the NBA draft, leaving Ohio State with some big holes to fill.

“We’re still figuring out what our group will be like,” Holtman said. “How this group develops can be really exciting. But I think we figure that out day in and day out. We will see how this group works over a long period of time.”

Digging deeper into the defense

The Buckeyes have averaged over 72.1 points per game in each of the last three seasons, but they’ve ranked near the middle of the group in the Big Ten in scoring defense.

The Buckeyes have lost five of their last seven games, allowing at least 71 points, including a 71-68 loss to Penn State in the second round of the Conference Championship.

“More athleticism, more variety, and a little bit longer on the edge, I think, were all things that we needed to address,” Holtmann said.

The 2022 Ohio State Recruitment category is ranked in the top ten in the country and highlighted by a quartet of four-star players.

Goalkeepers Rudy Gale Jr. and Bruce Thornton will join the Bucks’ backcourt, after receiving the Georgia Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year award from Gatorade last season.

Striker Bryce Sensabao hails from Orlando, and was named Florida master of basketball last year. The Buckeyes will also have high hopes for Felix Okpara, the 6-11 player from Lagos, Nigeria, while three-star guard Boyne Hardman of Cincinnati is out of the recruiting class.

After two seasons in which he collected 24 starts and hit 58.2% of his shots, it’s Key’s turn to provide a veteran Buckeyes voice with several new faces.

“It was tough here and there captain because I’ve always had older men to look up to, but now I’m one of the seniors,” Key said.

Holtman turned to the transportation gate to bring in Wright’s Tanner Holden, Oklahoma’s Isaac Leakely, and West Virginia’s Sean McNeill.

Holden scored 37 points to help the Raiders win their first NCAA game in the first four last spring, Likekele started more than 100 games in four seasons with the Cowboys, and McNeil dropped 57 three-pointers last season for the Mountaineers.

“I think everyone here can do a little bit of everything,” Holden said.

Swing started all 31 of Bucky’s games in 2020-21 before his abdominal and thigh injuries were limited to just two games last season. The 6-foot-6 striker said he’s almost healthy again and ready to go.

Ohio State opens November 7 against Robert Morris and has two more home games before playing at the Maui Invitational starting November 21. The first Big Ten match against the Rutgers is on December 8th.

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