Ohio State Men’s Basketball: Transfer Portal Update

Now that college basketball is champions and has entered the offseason, coaches are trying to finalize their rosters for next season. Whether or not you like the transfer portal, it’s here to stay and so far this offseason there have been 1,400 Division I players on the transfer portal.

Ohio State has already used the portal to its advantage, bringing in Tanner Holden from Wright State. Holden averaged 20.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game last season. Holden was one of the main guys to come to the portal and he said Ohio State was the first program to contact him, so the Buckeyes wasted no time in bringing in some points.

However, with at least eight or nine fellows leaving Columbus this offseason, and just five rookies coming in, the Buckeyes will need to get more than just Tanner Holden out of the transfer portal, no matter how good he is. Fortunately, Ohio State has been extremely active since being knocked out of the NCAA Tournament by Villanova.

The scholarship situation for the Buckeyes is finally starting to take shape with the news that Justice Sueing is returning and Meechie Johnson and Justin Ahrens have entered the portal. EJ Liddell and Malaki Branham entered the NBA Draft and Liddell will certainly keep his name in the draft, while Branham will likely be too.

With Seth Towns officially returning to Columbus, OSU will have two grants to give. They don’t need to use all of them this season and they might drop one for the recruit class of 2023 to get a guy like Rayvon Griffith, but they will certainly add another transfer or two to the 2022 squad.

These names may change after players make visits, commit elsewhere, and other names hit the portal, but for now, here are a few names to watch out for if you’re looking for Ohio State to block some transfers.

Sean McNeil – West Virginia guard

McNeil is still on the bingo card, though his teammate at West Virginia and Ohio State has targeted Jalen Bridges committed to Baylor. The Buckeyes probably have two bags open and possibly three, but I still believe the Buckeyes need to add a point guard. Especially with the departure of Meechie Johnson.

McNeil is known for his shooting, but he’s more versatile than just that. McNeil averaged 12.2 points per game and 2.5 rebounds per game. However, these numbers should be considered with context, as West Virginia is known for being slow. McNeil’s numbers will inevitably go up with the Buckeyes based on pace alone.

Nijel package – Kansas State guard

Pack is one of the best markers left on the portal and would be a nice addition to Holden. He would come on and immediately be the Buckeyes’ top scorer after averaging 17.4 points and 3.78 rebounds per game. During his rookie season, Pack started every game for the Wildcats and averaged 12.7 points per game. Pack played in 53 career games and started 52 of them.

A guy who immediately made an impact at a big school and scored the ball at a high level in his first two seasons would be huge for this Ohio State team, which needs his transfers to play the first day of this season. Pack has visited Ohio State, Miami and Purdue and all three should be considered favorites. They also desperately need a point guard.

Pack is a top priority for the Buckeyes and he should be.

Jermaine Couisnard – South Carolina guard

Couisnard was a late addition to the Buckeyes’ list of interests and is an interesting one for the Buckeyes fit. Couisnard hails from South Carolina and, more importantly, a phenomenal coach in Frank Martin.

Couisnard averaged 12.0 points, 3.2 assists and 2.5 rebounds per game, as well as being a true two-way player and typically guarding multiple positions for the Gamecocks. He’s another guy who will come in and make an immediate impact, probably in 2nd with Holden in 3rd and Sueing in 4th.

Manny Bates – NC State front

Bates is another interesting guy because he’s coming off an injury he hasn’t played in for most of last season and Ohio State already has Zed Key coming back at 5 and Felix Okpara coming in. With the limited purses the Buckeyes have — and the current need for a point guard — it remains to be seen how much Ohio State is prioritizing going after a center.

However, Bates is a solid player who can be a real force down there and is an elite shot blocker at 6ft 1in and a big frame. Adding to the list below is Butler, whom Bates recently visited with.

Ben Vander Plas – Ohio forward

Vander Plas was one of the most talked about and obvious tweaks for the Buckeyes right when he hit the portal. Last week, Jeff Goodman confirmed that Vander Plas had reduced his roster and the Buckeyes were on it. Vander Plas averaged 14.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He’s a stretch 4 that would really fit the Buckeyes like a glove.

One of the problems is that his father played for Virginia and Bennett Vander Plas was named after Virginia coach Tony Bennett. So there is this.

Antonio Reeves – Illinois State Guard

Reeves is another player who can jump right in and be a bucket winner for the Buckeyes. The 6-foot guard averaged 20.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in over 35 minutes per game for Illinois State. He also hit 39% from three points and is a top three-tier scorer.

Reeves is one of the more relaxed recruits at the moment, but so was Tanner Holden. Adding Holden and Reeves would be adding over 40 points per game to an offense that desperately needs it.

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