Thad Matta was very beloved in Columbus, Ohio despite his lackluster teams in his last few years at the university. It seemed as if the fans would not be able to recover from the loss of Matta and they would whine about their failure due to the “inexperienced new guy”. The Buckeyes acquired a hell of a “new guy” in ex-Butler Head Coach Chris Holtmann who arguably is doing a better job than Thad Matta’s last few seasons.
When you are an exceptional leader, everybody is going to follow you. Follow through tough times, trials, tribulations and in this instance: transfers. One of Holtmann’s Butler recruits liked him so much that he asked to be released from Butler and made the move to The Ohio State University. Yes, I am talking about Ohioan Kyle Young. Young is from the Jackson high school basketball team who recently won the 2017 OHSAA Boys’ Basketball State Championship 39-38. Jackson finished the season 28-2. Kyle was ranked second in the state of Ohio (behind Kaleb Wesson, another Ohio State signed player) and 21st in his position by the ESPN 100. He officially signed with Ohio State on June 19. These are the kinds of people Holtmann attracts.
Heading into the bulk of July, Holtmann has been able to land two more verbal commitments. Four-star guard/wing Musa Jallow from the class of 2017 as well as four-star guard Torrence Wattson from the class of 2018. Not only is July a very important time for recruiting in college basketball, but 2018 is very important for the Buckeyes. Despite all of the Holtmann hype, the Bucks are basically in a rebuilding mode and the 2018 class will be very important in shaping the future of their roster. Holtmann and the Buckeyes are mostly looking to add small forward Jerome Hunter in the month of July. Hunter is a Columbus native and Ohio State needs help from the 1-3 positions. Other recruiting targets include: Dwayne Cohill, Eric Ayala, Robert Phinisee, Elijah Weaver and more. All of these hopeful Buckeyes are the guard position.
Despite all the urge to add more players and improve, the current Buckeye basketball players are very happy with Holtmann so far. Sophomore Micah Potter is already feeling quite optimistic about the team. During a media moment, Potter said:
“The vibe that the whole program has already is just light years ahead of what it was.”
We all hated to see Coach Matta go, we loved him to death, loved all the rest of the coaching staff to death. But the change happened, and then Coach Holt has won us over already.”
Holt sure has left his mark early on this university. Time will only tell if he continues this momentum into the fall.