You can't survive in the Big Ten without holding on against tough competition down the stretch, and it turns out the same is true in luring impact graduate transfers.
Ohio State weathered the storm of a Duke threat for the services of Harvard University's Seth Towns -- the nation's No. 1 transfer, according to ESPN -- and will have him available for the next two seasons.
Towns, a 6-7, 215-pound wing, made the announcement Saturday night on SportsCenter.
"Overall, it was a perfect fit, across the board," Towns said. "Being at home, the school, my relationship with coaches and then some really incredible teammates that I’ll have that I’m excited to play along side. Yeah, I’m super excited to play for Ohio State."
Towns fills a scholarship slot created by the departure of freshman guard D.J. Carton, who entered the NCAA Transfer Portal earlier this week after leaving the Buckeyes Jan. 30 to attend to his mental health.
Towns and Carton are completely different players, with the common trait of being able to score.
Carton did it my knifing through the lane or hitting from three-point range as a point guard.
Towns is more of a stand-still shooter. He could put the ball on the floor and get to the basket in the Ivy League, but the greater defensive athleticism in the Big Ten and injury issues that sidelined him the past two years make that an unknown for the future.
"Myy relations with coach (Chris) Holtmann really set them apart from a lot of schools," Towns said of the Buckeyes. "Not only did he recruit me for this go ‘round, but throughout high school. He recruited me (when Holtmann coached) at Butler. And, Ohio State is home. That obviously provides some incentive."
Ohio State felt very good about its chances of luring Towns back home early in the week and was confident it had beaten back challenges from Kansas, Syracuse and Virginia.
Then Duke got involved and the Buckeyes' optimism became tempered until he alleviated their concerns with the announcement he would transfer to Columbus.
Because Towns has his undergraduate degree, he is barred by Ivy League rules from playing basketball as a graduate student at Harvard, where he was coached by former Duke point guard and former Michigan coach, Tommy Amaker.
Amaker's tie to Duke's Mike Krzyzewski caused considerable concern among those hoping Towns would select Ohio State.
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann has an enviable track record with graduate transfers, having gotten production from Andrew Dakich in 2018 and Keyshawn Woods in 2019.
Towns becomes the second transfer eligible to play for the Buckeyes in 2020-21, joining 6-7 forwad Justice Sueing, formerly of Cal, who transferred prior to last season and sat out per NCAA transfer rules.
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