Here at Buckeye Wire, we put together an all-time historical football team, so we thought — why not do the same for basketball?
All-Time Historical Ohio State Basketball First Team
Yeah Ohio State is known as a football school, but it plays a little round-ball too. If it weren’t for the great success achieved with the pigskin, the Buckeyes could very well be known as a basketball institution as well.
Never fear, we’re not letting that slide here at Buckeye Wire. We decided to double down and take the historical team exercise we did with football and do the same with the pumpkin.
Three writers voted, and here’s the team we came up with.
Kelvin Ransey (1976-1980)
Ransey is one of the most talented Buckeye basketball players of all time. He currently sits at No. 4 on the all-time scoring list for Ohio State and was an All-Big Ten performer each of his last three years. He was also named team MVP for the 1977-78 and 1979-80 seasons.
He averaged 17.3 points per game during his career and was named as a first-team All-American in his senior year. No guard has scored more points at Ohio State, and maybe none will for a long time to come.
Two of our writers picked Ransey, but there was a single vote for Scoonie Penn as an honorable mention here.
Jimmy Jackson (1989-1992)
Jackson is one of the most beloved figures in Ohio State basketball history. He was one of the most ballyhooed recruits ever to come to Columbus when he made his way to campus in 1989. He didn’t disappoint.
The 6-6 shooting guard was plugged into the starting lineup as a true freshman, averaging 16.1 points and 5.5 rebounds per game straight-out-of- the-box.
Jackson would go on to make first-team All-American his sophomore and junior years, and was named the UPI National Player of the Year in 1992.
Ohio State retired his No. 22 in 2001.
He was a consensus pick with our writers, though one did have him at the forward position which speaks volumes for his versatility. He also brought the ball up the court at times and wasn’t afraid to get points in the lane.
The other vote at shooting guard went to Columbus native Michael Redd.
John Havlicek (1960-1962)
If not for being overshadowed by the larger than life Jerry Lucas, Havlicek may very well be known as the icon of OSU basketball.
He also starred as a forward alongside Lucas on the same teams that went to three-straight national title games (winning it in 1960) during the golden era of Buckeye Basketball.
“Hondo” was a two-time all Big-Ten pick and a first team All-American as a senior in 1962. He is 26th on the all-time scoring list and could even rebound a little — averaging 8.6 per game.
For as good as he was in college, he is probably more recognized for what he did during the Boston Celtics dynasty, where he was a perennial all-NBA performer with eight NBA titles to his credit.
He is also a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball and Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.
Interesting enough, one of our writers left Havlicek out of the mix, but not the sane ones … (we’re still having his head examined).
Jerry Lucas (1960-1962)
There is little doubt who the best Ohio State basketball player of all time is. Lucas was LeBron James before James was even thought of, it was just so much before social media and 24/7 media coverage, that the hype train didn’t come before the horse.
Also, the exploits of Lucas are prior to many Buckeye basketball fans of today’s day and age were alive, so it’s easy to be somewhat out of site out of mind.
But make no mistake about it — Jerry Lucas is an all-timer in college, and also a part of the NBA Hall of Fame who led Ohio State to its only national championship in 1960.
He was a three-year starter in Columbus (freshman were ineligible in his time) and was arguably the most dominant college player in the game during those three years.
Over his career, Lucas averaged 24.3 points and a ridiculous 17.2 rebounds per game, all while shooting 62.4% from the floor. He was voted national player of the year in both his junior and senior seasons, and is a member of both the college and pro basketball Hall of Fames.
His No. 11 hangs in the rafters at Ohio State.
Needless to say, he was a unanimous pick by all of our writers. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone ever reaches the lofty legacy Lucas has left in Columbus.
Greg Oden (2006-2007)
Greg Oden was a one and done at Ohio State, but boy was that one oh so fun. Oden wouldn’t even play a full season in Columbus due to a right wrist injury, but even with the limited body of work in the Scarlet and Gray, Oden belongs on this list.
Oden may be the biggest basketball recruit to ever commit to the Buckeyes –and with good reason. The seven footer was nearly unstoppable in the post on both sides of the ball.
Offensively, if you drew the unfortunate assignment of guarding the Buckeye center… it was in your best interest to just get out of the way or become another poster for Oden’s dorm room wall. Defensively, good luck trying to get a shot off inside of three feet. If he didn’t send it into the third row, he altered the shot enough to make it a really tough look.
Oden would finish his one year with 501 total points, good for over 15 per game. He also holds the record for blocks by a freshman with 105 on the season and is second all time with 306 rebounds as a freshman.
Oh yeah… he also brought Ohio State within one game of its first National Championship in basketball since 1960.
Oden was the majority pick by our writers, but Herb Williams also got mentioned, so we’ll mention him here too.