Holtmann's Blueprint For Recruiting At Ohio State: Get Ohio Kids Back

Holtmann's Blueprint For Recruiting At Ohio State: Get Ohio Kids Back

BuckeyeWire

Holtmann's Blueprint For Recruiting At Ohio State: Get Ohio Kids Back


Ohio State received a verbal commitment from Cleveland Garfield five-star recruit Alonzo Gaffney yesterday. It’s hopefully the first domino of many Ohio kids that begin to steer their way back to OSU in the future. 


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Holtmann’s Blueprint For Recruiting At Ohio State: Get Ohio Kids Back

When the Ohio State basketball machine is making championship widgets and stamping out NBA players, it’s normally because of one reason; Ohio kids are staying home and deciding to play their collegiate ball at the flagship university in the state.

And no, that’s not Cincinnati, Xavier or Dayton despite more recent hardwood success in the Buckeye state.

No, when things are humming along at OSU, the Mr. Basketball’s and four and five-star recruits in the O-H-I-O are giving Columbus a serious look — often making the decision to wear the Scarlet and Gray of good ‘ole State U.

Trouble In The Heartland

But that hasn’t happened in recent years. Thad Matta went out and got some crazy kids from Indiana when he brought in the likes of Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Jr. and DeShaun Thomas, but for every one of those big timers, there were guys like William Buford, Aaron Craft and Jared Sullinger — all Ohio guys.

But over the last few years of the Matta regime, those players from Ohio began to defect to other programs and other states. Nick Ward (Michigan State), Omari Spellman (Villanova), V.J, King (Louisville) and Zavier Simpson (Michigan) all from the 2016 recruiting class, all from Ohio, went elsewhere.

In 2015, it was Luke Kennard (Duke), Carlton Bragg (Kansas) and Esa Ahmad (West Virginia) that left home. In 2014? Yep. Jae’Sean Tate stayed in central Ohio, but Vincent Edwards (Purdue) and Javon Bess (Michigan State) said toot-a-loo and packed their bags.

We could go on, but the point is, Ohio kids need to begin to make their way back to the banks of the Olentangy for Ohio State to get that pipeline of Ohio players established as a baseline of recruiting again.

Truth is, Ohio is known as a football state, but it produces quite the crop of basketball talent as well. Heck, a state that spawned LeBron James shouldn’t have a basketball identity issue.

But the state has been full of nomad and basketball mercenaries looking to dole out their services to other more high profile “basketball schools” in the not so recent past.

It’s time for a pull in the reins.

You Have To Start Somewhere

So then it’s good news that the best recruit according to multiple recruiting services in the state has pledged his commitment to the program. In case you missed it, power forward Alonzo Gaffney from Cleveland Garfield announced his intentions to play in Columbus on Twitter yesterday.

He’s the No. 18 rated recruit in the country, and No. 4 rated power forward position in all the land.

And he’s from the great state of Ohio.

It’s the first time the consensus best prospect out of the state has decided to wear the Scarlet and Gray since Jae’Sean Tate committed in 2015, and it was sorely needed.

It was needed because the program has been suffering from a hit to its perception by Ohio kids. Just recently, during the 2018 recruiting class, Darius Bazley rescinded his commitment because of a lack of faith in the program.

And if it weren’t for Chris Holtmann leaving Butler to come prowl the sideline in the Schott, another four-star recruit would have defected to Indiana. Instead, Massilon’s Kyle Young decided to follow the former Bulldog coach and elbow his way back to Ohio.

Whew.

Keep The Pendulum Swinging

So good on Holtmann for bringing in the biggest name in Ohio this year. Hopefully its the beginning of a landslide of kids from the state beginning to go arm-and-arm to do battle against the rest of the country.

The coaching staff got this one to show that the balance of pride with Ohio kids could be shifting, but it’ll take more than one high profile Buckeye born and bred recruit to show out in CBus to really get things cookin.’

But you can feel it beginning to boil.

 

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