Ohio State Buckeyes' Men's Basketball Transfer Portal Roundup

The Ohio State Buckeyes had a mixed bag of an offseason.
Meechie Johnson Jr. was perhaps the biggest incoming name for the Buckeyes during portal season.
Meechie Johnson Jr. was perhaps the biggest incoming name for the Buckeyes during portal season. / Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Although he had quite a few players enter the transfer portal or graduate from the program, Ohio State Buckeyes men's basketball coach Jake Diebler brought in several new names from the portal itself, as well as through recruiting. According to 247Sports, Ohio State stands at No. 16 in the transfer portal rankings.

Note: The NCAA transfer portal closed Wednesday at 11:59 p.m. EST, but players who had previously entered their names in the portal still have time to commit to other schools or withdraw their names from the portal.

Who's Leaving?

The three seniors graduating from the program are guard Dale Bonner and forwards Jamison Battle and Owen Spencer. Although Spencer did not see the floor much, Battle ranked among the top 3-point shooters in the country and finished in the semifinals of the Hanes Men's 3-Point Championship on April 4.

Battle started his career with George Washington before transferring to Minnesota for another two years and finishing with the Buckeyes. He finished second on the team with 15.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game on an efficient 47-43-92 shooting split.

Bonner added solid perimeter defense and 3-point shooting, especially down the stretch of the season, including recording a season-high 12 points against Virginia Tech in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament on March 23.

Apart from the graduates, Diebler lost almost his whole rotational backcourt, including freshman Scotty Middleton, and sophomores Roddy Gayle Jr. and Bowen Hardman, as well as big men in sophomore Felix Okpara and senior Zed Key.

The Buckeyes lose a big-time fan favorite in Zed Key.
The Buckeyes lose a big-time fan favorite in Zed Key. / Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Gayle and Okpara, two starters last season, came as surprise additions to the portal, with Gayle committing to Michigan and Okpara to Tennessee. What was more surprising was that Okpara announced his decision to leave less than three weeks after committing to play next season for Diebler.

With Gayle leaving, the Buckeyes lose perhaps their best perimeter defender in the backcourt, as well as a force driving to the rim. Okpara added a great defensive presence as well, recording the second-most blocks per game in the Big Ten.

Middleton, who missed the last few games of the season dealing with family issues, left to play for coach Shaheen Holloway and Seton Hall. The Pirates get a solid, young shooter from downtown as well as solid stretch perimeter defender.

Key didn't see the floor as much as he did his junior season but remained a fan favorite — there was perhaps no rotational player who got the crowd going as much as he did everytime he recorded a block or and-1 bucket. Key will be playing for Dayton next season.

Hardman only broke the rotation late in the season, just before Diebler took over as interim head coach. He occasionally provided an immediate offensive spark off the bench and has the opportunity to succeed in shooting from downtown at Akron next season.

Aaron Bradshaw address the paint protection problem with Okpara and Key both transferring.
Aaron Bradshaw address the paint protection problem with Okpara and Key both transferring. / Clare Grant/Courier Journal / USA TODAY

Incoming Standouts (UPDATED MAY 3)

Diebler officially added six players this offseason — transfers Meechie Johnson Jr., Aaron Bradshaw, Sean Stewart, and Micah Parrish, as well as top-125 recruits Colin White and Juni Mobley.

Johnson started his career with the Buckeyes before leaving for South Carolina after two seasons. He spent another two years in Columbia before announced his return to Columbus. With sophomore guard Bruce Thornton and freshman Taison Chatman being the only returners in the backcourt, Johnson adds three-level scoring and solid on-ball defense to the Buckeyes next season — not to mention his big returning fanbase.

Parrish also adds a solid defensive presence for Diebler. Standing at six-foot-six, the Detroit native comes in as a 3&D player with the ability to guard 1-4 and knock down shots from all over the floor. However, Ohio State should hope Parrish can return to the scoring efficiency he had at Oakland his first two years, where he shot over 40 percent from the field and 35 percent from downtown.

Stewart arrived at Duke as a five-star big but didn’t see the floor much as a freshman. With Bradshaw also coming to Columbus, the Buckeyes are set up very well to dominate the paint on both ends of the floor. Stewart brings his strength and defensive awareness to Diebler’s squad.

The final transfer added was Bradshaw, who will replace Okpara as a seven-foot standout. Although he saw the floor less than 15 minutes per game last season, he was efficient on both ends when received ample time. Bradshaw should expect to provide a dominant paint presence as a backup if not a starter, and might hope to be in the game with rising sophomore Devin Royal as bigs.

Colin White comes in as a top-125 recruit in the country.
Colin White comes in as a top-125 recruit in the country. / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

As Mr. Ohio Basketball, White must travel just over 100 miles to get from Ottawa-Glandorf High School to Ohio State. He brings the strength to finish through contact in the paint but can further help stretch the floor and guard 2-4.

Mobley, the No. 42 recruit nationally, can help Thornton, Johnson, and Chatman in the backcourt with his three-level scoring, especially from beyond the arc. Reigning from Wasatch Academy in Utah, Mobley averaged over 21 and five assists per game to help lead his school to a top-10 national ranking.

With just one scholarship spot remaining on the Buckeye roster, it seems Diebler has taken a well-rounded approach to the transfer portal to address all problems moving forward. The Buckeyes can hope to return to the NCAA Tournament with more veteran leadership next season after missing out the last two years.

Published |Modified
Gaurav Law