Ohio State Hoops Roster Complete With Abel Porter Transfer

Bruce Hooley

There's a certain allure that comes with every Top 50 recruit, but there's also a benefit in the stability afforded by a graduate with the resume Ohio State gains via the transfer of Abel Porter from Utah State.

That's been evident in the past when OSU coach Chris Holtmann added Andrew Dakich from Michigan and Keyshawn Woods from Wake Forest.

Porter is closer to Dakich and Woods in workmanlike efficiency than he is either D.J. Carton or Alonzo Gaffney, headline recruits who left the Buckeyes after one season, or Luther Muhammad, who also departed despite starting for two years.

In Porter, OSU adds a two-year starter from a team that won the Mountain West Conference Tournament both years. Off the court, Porter is a married, 24-year-old with a master's degree, who earned a scholarship after walking on in the aftermath of serving a two-year Mormon mission in southern Russia and persevering through a season lost to injury.

So, if there's a word to describe Porter, maturity, would be it.

That's not a description anyone readily applied to either Carton or Gaffney, both of whom are likely to turn professional if they don't gain immediate eligibility waivers from the NCAA.

“Abel is Mr. Dependable, Mr. Reliable,” Utah State coach Craig Smith said of Porter before he went through Senior Night ceremonies in Logan. "He just does everything you ask, and he’s certainly been a big part of what we’ve done here.”

Dakich and Woods wound up big parts of OSU's success in Holtmann's first two years and that's the role destined for Porter, given C.J. Walker's return at point guard.

Porter's arrival also virtually assures what has been known since Kaleb Wesson entered the NBA Draft...that he has no plans to return to Ohio State, as he did a year ago after putting his name into consideration.

Right now, there's no scholarship for Wesson, with Porter claiming the 13th and final grant available after an eventual roster makeover following a 21-10 season cut short by COVID-19 precautions.

Porter started every game for Utah State, which won the Mountain West Conference tournament with an upset of San Diego State. He averaged 5.6 points and 3.2 assists, but his three-point percentage declined from 40% as a sophomore to 29% as a junior.

Even so, Porter did hit a game-winning three-pointer in the final seconds of a win at New Mexico.

Carton, Muhammad and Gaffney all entered the Transfer Portal, where they are rated the No. 2, No 9 and No. 19 available players who must sit one season before becoming eligible in 2021-22.

That mandatory wait may be removed by the NCAA when it votes May. 20 on a proposal to offer all athletes an immediate eligibility waiver to be used once during their careers.

With Carton, Muhammad, Gaffney and likely Wesson gone, OSU has replenished with Harvard transfer Seth Towns, eligible immediately with two seasons left to play, Bucknell's Jimmy Sotos and now Porter.

Ohio State has been uncertain whether to petition to Sotos' immediate eligibility, but now plans to redshirt him this coming season and consume his final year in 2021-22 when Walker and Porter are gone.

The Buckeyes' roster for next season now includes five guards in Walker, Porter, Sotos, Duane Washington and Musa Jallow, four wings in Towns, Justice Sueing, Justion Ahrens and freshman Eugene Brown and four post players in Kyle Young, E.J. Liddell, Ibrahima Diallow and freshman Zed Key.

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