2022 Ohio State University
As the College Football season draws to its halfway point, it is time to shift focus of the gridiron and hit the hardwood. The preseason for the Buckeyes will start on the first day of November against Chaminade on Big Ten Plus (BTN+) and game one of the regular season will be on November 7th against Robert Morris at 7:00 p.m. on BTN+.
Ohio State Basketball head coach Chris Holtmann comes into his sixth season with a winning percentage of 65.6% overall and 59.2% in Big Ten play. The Buckeyes, led by Holtmann, have reached the big dance known as March Madness in every season, but they have never made it to the Sweet 16. He replaced Thad Matta, who made it to the Sweet 16 five times at Ohio State. At the start of the 2017 season. Matta left Ohio State with a 73.2% win percentage. Chris Holtmann sent two players from the 2021 team to the NBA in E.J. Liddell and Malaki Branham via the draft. They were the first duo in 15 years to be drafted in the same class out of Ohio State.
This is a Buckeye team coming off an incredible season with yet another disappointing end to the year in the tournament. They lose all but three members of the 2021 roster and are built of nearly all transfers and freshman. They play in the most physical and talented conference in America. Do not expect a great record this year from Ohio State, I expect their time is coming, but they are still very young and inexperienced.
With a lot to replace, Chris Holtmann, who received a three-year extension that will keep him at the helm through the 2027-28 season, has his work cut out for him with a young 2022 roster, so let's meet the team. Here is the official roster for Ohio State Basketball.
1 Roddy Gayle Jr. - shooting guard, 6-4, 4-star prospect
2 Bruce Thornton - point guard, 6-2, 4-star prospect
10 Brice Sensabaugh - small forward, 6-6, 4-star prospect
15 Bowen Hardman - shooting guard, 6-3, 3-star prospect
34 Felix Okpara - center, 6-11, 4-star prospect
42 Colby Baumann - guard, 6-3, Walk-On
Gayle Jr. was the highlight of a 2022 class that ranked in the Top 10 of recruiting classes nationwide, as he was ranked the No. 46 student-athlete, but he is not the only soon to be star that the Buckeyes will look to this season. Right behind him at No. 47 was Bruce Thornton, a talented point guard that will potentially look to lead the frontcourt this year with the Buckeyes losing three of the ball handlers from last year in the offseason.
Sensabaugh and Okpara should be expected to get plenty of playing time this season, as they were also Top 100 prospects from this class and should bring with them an emphasis to defense to a team that has lacked such in recent years. Holtmann at the Big Ten Media Day believes these two will be at the center of attention this year because the Big Ten is “unlike any other conference in terms of center play in recent years.”
Baumann was a walk-on from IMG Academy. He injured his wrist in his senior year and was not a ranked prospect on 24/7 sports, but he has found his way onto this young, but talented roster. I expect big things from Baumann in a couple of years but don't look to him to be the breakout star in 2022. Ohio State will have to rely on the young boys to get it done this season as six of the 14 players on this year's roster is a part of this freshman class.
24 Kalen Etzler - power forward, 6-8, Redshirt-FR
Not much is being expected out of Etzler this season, who came in as a 3-star power forward in last year's two-man class alongside Malaki Branham. He was redshirted because his body was not yet at a competitive level for the Big Ten. He came in weighing 195 pounds and is now listed at 180 pounds. Hopefully this means the training staff of Ohio State burned some fat off and added back a lot of muscle, otherwise the boys who put the big in Big Ten will eat him up in the paint this season.
0 Tanner Holden - SR, guard, 6-6
3 Eugene Brown III - JR, guard, 6-6
4 Sean McNeil - Grad Transfer, guard, 6-4
13 Isaac Likekele - Grad Transfer, guard, 6-5
14 Justice Sueing - Redshirt-SR, forward, 6-6
23 Zed Key - JR, forward, 6-8
44 Owen Spencer - JR, forward, 6-9
Sueing is the man everyone has been waiting for after he missed nearly the entire season last year with an abdominal injury. He averaged about 13 points in the three seasons he has played and will likely be looked at this season to lead the team in scoring.
Key is the other notable returning player from last year that Ohio State is hoping makes the leap into stardom. He has only averaged six points per game in two seasons behind E.J. Liddell.
Eugene Brown III is the only other player that returns from the 2021 season with any playing time, but he only averaged 3.5 points and 17 minutes.
Grad Transfer McNeil averaged 12 points per game in his career with West Virginia. He joins a clustered guard room but based off his prior experience in big games, he will likely get looked too early in the season for meaningful minutes.
Fellow transfer Likekele jumps from one OSU to another as he's played for the Oklahoma State Cowboys the last four seasons, averaging nine points a game. Much like McNeil, his experience should earn him some minutes early in the season as the young freshman find their footing.
Spencer transferred in after two seasons playing for The Citadel. He is an Ohio native and averaged 0.9 points through 23 games at his prior school. His 6'9 frame helps an undersized Buckeye team this season. I expect to see him be brought off the bench in a defensive role this year for Ohio State.
Holden is the guy to watch for this season for Ohio State. He transferred in from Wright State, where he averaged 20 points a game last season and led them to a 15-7 record and a third-place finish in the Horizon League. He is the only player on the 2022 roster that has ever averaged more than 15 points in a game throughout their career and will likely be leaned on early and often to get the ball through the hoop.
The 2022 schedule leads off with a fairly easy start thanks to a three-game home stand against non-power-five teams that should give this Buckeye team some time to figure themselves out before they hit the road. After the easy start, the Buckeyes travel to Hawaii for the Maui Invitational featuring San Diego State, Cincinnati and Arizona. This potential three-day tournament will really give us all a good look at what they can really do this season.
They will get a week off after this and hit the road for the first true road game of the year in Durham, NC, in the ACC/Big Ten Men's Basketball Challenge against Duke. This game is going to expose every weakness the young Buckeyes have but should lend itself as a great learning tool to use in the future for Holtmann and his group of freshman in coming seasons.
They will play their first Big Ten game against Rutgers in early December. Ohio State will also be featured in the CBS Sports Classic in Madison Square Garden against the UNC Tarheels on the 17th of December. After that game. they will receive a few easy games before beginning conference play in January.
Record Prediction: 17-14
Based off the young roster and a fairly difficult strength of schedule this year, plus the added fact of playing in the deepest conference in the nation in the Big Ten, I don't expect the Buckeyes to go on any big runs and get a chance to ride with some momentum. I think at best this team could hit 20 victories if they get the young guys going early in the season, but in a worst case scenario, this can be a team that ends up with under 10 wins this season. They are very young and have no experience playing together. Chemistry is going to be the driving force of success in the Buckeyes 2022-23 season.
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