Gaffney Leaving Ohio State to Pursue New Future

Bruce Hooley

Alonzo Gaffney's commitment to play basketball at Ohio State birthed visions of an instant impact, one-and-done force for the Buckeyes before his departure to the NBA.

That proves some dreams can end exactly as expected, without at all following the anticipated path.

Gaffney has designs on playing professionally next season despite averaging just 1.8 points and playing in only nine of the team's 20 Big Ten games.

He did not dress for any of OSU's final four games, mysteriously leaving the team at the precise moment junior forward Kyle Young's ankle injury made minutes available in the lineup.

Gaffney's father, Kevin, told The Columbus Dispatch the family will "leave our options open" while his son remains in school through the spring semester.

All in-person classes at OSU have been cancelled in the wake of COVID-19 precautions.

Gaffney has indicated to persons involved with the program that he prefers playing professionally next season.

His departure follows the entry of freshman guard D.J. Carton into the Transfer Portal for purposes of finding a collegiate landing spot where he can better position himself for a future in the NBA.

Carton shared time with junior C.J. Walker this past season, showing brightly in some games. But Walker came on strong after Carton took leave from the team Jan. 30 to tend to his mental health, and there's no guarantee Carton would overtake him as the primary ball-handler next season.

Gaffney's path to greater player time with OSU was most inviting given the likely departure of junior Kaleb Wesson to the NBA. But the 6-9 Gaffney was much more slightly-built than Wesson and lacks as least 15 pounds of muscle to be an effective defender on Big Ten big men.

Gaffney's design on minutes as a stretch wing would be compromised by the transfer of former Ivy League player-of-the-year Seth Towns to Ohio State. Towns made his decision public Saturday night.

He has two years of eligibility remaining, but his health is not a guarantee, given he's missed the last two seasons following surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee and subsequent complications.

When Gaffney committed to sign with Ohio State, he was the third-ranked power forward in the nation and the No. 18 overall prospect nationally. He sank to No. 47 in the country after a transfer to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire.

He averaged only 10 points and six rebounds there and struggled to adapt to defensive concepts once he arrived at Ohio State.

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