Malaki Branham is Coming Home! Ohio State Basketball Lands Top In-State Recruit

Adam Prescott


Head Coach Chris Holtmann has secured his biggest recruiting commitment since taking over the Ohio State basketball program, as 6-foot-4 shooting guard Malaki Branham (Akron/St. Vincent-St. Mary) announced the Buckeyes as his college decision Wednesday afternoon.

According to the latest 247Sports industry-generate composite rankings, Branham is the No. 27 overall player nationally, the No. 5 shooting guard and No. 1 player in Ohio for the class of 2021. He is also the highest-rated recruit landed by Holtmann, who will soon enter his fourth year at the helm.

Branham, who wears No. 22 for SVSM, officially made his choice on July 22 at 2:22 p.m. He chose the Buckeyes over a narrowed list that included Xavier, Louisville, Baylor and Alabama as other top/primary contenders.

A Columbus native, Branham grew up in Central Ohio before moving to Akron for high school. Ohio State had been recruiting him hard for over two years and hosted him for an official visit back in October for the Michigan State football game. He is now coming back home for college.

Branham is now the third commit to remain within state lines for Ohio State’s 2021 class, which also features combo guard Meechie Johnson (No. 89 nationally, Garfield Heights) and 6-foot-8 power forward Kalen Etzler (No. 90 nationally, Convoy Crestview).

Branham has guided St. Vincent-St. Mary (alma mater of LeBron James) to a combined 45-8 record the past two seasons, included an appearance in the OHSAA state championship game as a sophomore and a district title this past season before it was cut short. He plays alongside top-50 recruit Sencire Harris from the class of 2022.

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