The Ohio State men’s basketball program signed one of the nation’s highest-rated recruiting classes on Wednesday, and with five elite players in the haul – including highly touted point guard Bruce Thornton – head coach Chris Holtmann believes this could be a defining moment for the program.
“It’s a class that we’ll be able to look back to and feel like it was instrumental in a lot of success,” Holtmann said during his media availability on Thursday afternoon. “I don’t want to put too much on young guys right now, but you have a combination of some really talented guys who address some needs.
“Obviously, we’re losing a lot of guys (after this year), but it gives us a lot of excitement moving forward with the combination of guys that have won at a high level, are really competitive (and includes) some multi-position guys. It’s as talented a class as we’ve had, and I think it can be a real building block moving forward.”
Holtmann gave much of the credit for putting the class together to his assistants, as Jake Diebler, Ryan Pedon and Tony Skinn each helped the Buckeyes address specific needs with players who could potentially contribute right away.
“I do think that was important, and probably – in their minds – an attractive thing,” Holtmann said of the potential for early plying time with this group. “Obviously, we’re going to have some good young players returning, but we also need some guys who can come in and play right away as freshmen.
“I think we have some guys here that are capable of that. Some are going to be more ready than others, but there’s no question we addressed some needs with some guys that are going to play as freshmen.”
As mentioned, the group is highlighted by Thornton, a four-star prospect from Alpharetta, Ga. But guards Roddy Gayle Jr. and Bowen Hardman, forward Brice Sensabaugh and center Felix Okpara are also important pieces in the largest and most respected class of Holtmann’s tenure at Ohio State.
"I think we can continue to have classes like this,” Holtmann said. “Maybe not always in numbers, because you're not always going to bring in five freshmen. But there's no question we can continue to have classes of this caliber.”
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