Head coach Chris Holtmann described it as the biggest challenge of his coaching career, juggling the lineup with so many injuries at the point guard position.
With the Buckeyes down C.J. Walker and down Jimmy Sotos, Holtmann called on Justice Sueing - a 6-7 forward - to play point guard against Northwestern. Sueing had very few, if any, live-game reps at the position and still put together a complete performance with 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting, seven rebounds, one assist and only one turnover in the win.
“I think he’s kind of a little bit unsung in all this because we forced him into the point guard position and I thought he did a really good job,” Holtmann said. “He just did a really good job. We’ve talked about seeing Justice make real strides forward in these last couple games. I think you’ve seen it, we’ve seen it and I think he’s been a little more committed to being a complete player. I am proud of him because he just continues to make real strides.”
Sueing had been practicing at point guard a little since the fall, when the Buckeyes learned that Abel Porter would be unable to play in the 2020-2021 season. Having to execute at the position is a different challenge but he embraced it and the next-man-up mentality against the Wildcats.
“With me being next up, running the PG, I had to learn it pretty quick, learn it pretty fast,” Sueing said. “My coaches and my team have a lot of confidence in me to trust my versatility on the floor. Once I got the hang of it, they let me play and just really play through the game. It wasn’t too much. I’ve been familiar with the plays so I was able to go out there and execute and we came out with the win tonight so it’s all good.”
Justin Ahrens added about his teammate, “This was something I kind of anticipated because I work out with him in the summer so I saw what skill set he had. He’s a very point-guard playing type player. His ball skills are really good, he has really good court vision and that showed tonight.”
It remains to be seen whether Sueing will have to play point guard in any other games this season. However, if the Buckeyes find themselves in that position once again, they can rest a little easier after seeing his performance tonight.
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