Holtmann Displaying Consistent Recruiting Growth for Ohio State Basketball

Adam Prescott

Chris Holtmann will soon begin his fourth year as head coach of Ohio State men’s basketball, striving to reach the next level and push the program back to national prominence.

The Buckeyes hold a solid 66-34 record in almost three full seasons since Holtmann arrived from Butler, including a 34-24 mark in the Big Ten. OSU made back-to-back NCAA Tournaments to begin his tenure, losing in the second round both times, and had momentum this past season before things took a turn…

Ohio State reached No. 1 in the national poll early, but lost six of seven games midway through the schedule and ended up settling tied for fifth in the Big Ten regular-season standings. The season was then abruptly canceled, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, just as the league tournament was about to begin.

Despite some setbacks, Holtmann, top assistant Ryan Pedon and ensuing staff of coaches still appear to be trending in the right direction as evident by consistent improvement with recruiting classes. His first group, in 2018, was ranked No. 27 nationally and consisted of Luther Muhammad, Jaedon LeDee, Duane Washington and Justin Ahrens.

The 2019 class doubled in strength and ended No. 14 in the country, featuring a trio of top-50 ranked players (DJ Carton, E.J. Liddell and Alonzo Gaffney) along with big man Ibrahima Diallo. That group also included California transfer Justice Seuing, who led Cal in scoring as a sophomore before transitioning to Columbus. He sat out last season and is now eligible.

Ohio State Head Coach Chris Holtmann standing in front of Buckeyes student-section
© Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

While a few of those recruits didn’t quite pan out, some would argue that Holtmann’s roster has actually gotten better through the recent transactional departures and additions. Throw out the national ranking (67) for the latest 2020 class because it only included two players in Eugene Brown III and Zed Key

However, the incoming group will also feature a pair of impressive, mature and experienced graduate transfers with guard Abel Porter (Utah State) and Columbus native Seth Towns (Harvard). Porter has appeared in 94 college games while Towns is a former Ivy League Player of the Year.

The upcoming 2021 recruiting class is now currently ranked No. 2 in the country following the commitment of top Ohio prospect Malaki Branham. Fellow in-state products Meechie Johnson (No. 89 nationally) and Kalen Etzler (No. 90) are also part of the group.

While the Buckeyes may or may not remain near the top of the 247Sports composite team rankings, the program certainly appears to have positive traction and could very easily settle with a top-10 class. Many other top prospects have recently included Ohio State on their trimmed lists.

With the potential/likelihood of adding one more 2021 commit, the future of Buckeye basketball could get very intriguing as Holtmann and company look to turn the corner.

Stay tuned to BuckeyesNow and all of our social media outlets (@BuckeyesNowSI) on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for continued coverage!

Comments (3)
No. 1-1
Keegan Rice
Keegan Rice

Definitely going in right direction but they still need one more player in this class to be top 10. The giants coming on soon.

2 Replies

Brendan Gulick
Brendan Gulick


Big Ten basketball is the real deal. The league is so tough every year and it's really hard to recruit kids that you know are going to stay and help you build a program. College basketball recruiting is crazy hard at this level. But they have something special going on right now and I think they've got a chance to win league titles and legitimately compete for a national championship.

Keegan Rice
Keegan Rice

Appreciate the optimism but let’s pump the brakes on any Natty title talk right now. I’m just trying to make the NCAA second weekend..