Ohio State forward Justice Sueing announced on Thursday evening he will take advantage of the extra season of eligibility granted to all student-athletes amid the pandemic and return to the Buckeyes for his sixth-year senior season in 2022-23.
After joining the program as a transfer from California, Seeing was one of just two players to start all 31 games for Ohio State in 2020-21, joining former guard Duane Washington. He averaged 10.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game and was expected to play a significant role this past season as a result.
Unfortunately, the 6-foot-7 and 215-pound Sueing was dealing with an abdominal injury that carried over from the Buckeyes’ postseason run. He played in just two games, averaging 6.0 points and 3.5 rebounds in wins over Akron and Niagara, before he was shut down for a “extended period of time.”
Sueing was spotted conducting a pregame workout midway through the season, and head coach Chris Holtmann noted at the time he was close to returning to practice. But in the days leading up to the NCAA Tournament, Holtmann added he didn’t anticipate him playing again this season.
“It’s probably been the most I’ve been disappointed for a kid in maybe 20 years of coaching,” Holtmann said. “He is such a good player. I think he has not reached his ceiling as a player. He is so important for our team. He’s missed a chunk of games. I’m optimistic, but he’s taking it one step at a time.”
With junior forward E.J. Liddell off to the NBA, fifth-year senior forward Kyle Young exhausting his eligibility and senior forward Justin Ahrens transferring from the program for his extra season, Sueing will be the only team captain from last year’s squad returning in 2022-23.
Assuming he’ll be able to return to full strength, Sueing will be an impact player for the Buckeyes alongside Wright State transfer guard Tanner Holden. It’s unclear what the rest of the roster will look like, though, with freshman guard Malaki Branham testing the NBA waters and sixth-year senior center Joey Brunk and fifth-year senior guards Jamari Wheeler, Cedric Russell and Jimmy Sotos exhausting their eligibility.
Ohio State is set to welcome five freshmen this summer, though, which should help with that attrition. Guards Bruce Thornton, Roddy Gayle and Bowen Hardman, forward Brice Sensabaugh and center Felix Okpara combined to make the top-rated class in the Big Ten.
Additionally, sixth-year senior forward Seth Towns – who missed all of last season with a back injury – has to make a similar decision regarding his extra season of eligibility. Like Sueing, he would count against the Buckeyes’ scholarship limit next season.
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