Ohio State’s Chris Holtmann talks to his team during a timeout in the second half against the Michigan State Spartans during the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Basketball Tournament at the United Center on March 15, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
Photo: Dylan Buell
Photo: Dylan Buell

Chris Holtmann on his garage gym: Think of the Rocky movies

Ohio State coach gives offseason update on program

“If you can remember any of the Rocky movies,” he said Tuesday, “think of that gym.”

The Ohio State Buckeyes basketball coach, who led the program to a 21-10 mark in his third season, has tried to stay in shape during an offseason like no other. The coronavirus pandemic has forced coaches across the country into unusual circumstances. No one’s on the road recruiting. Most can’t even go into their offices.

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Holtmann estimates he spends eight to 10 hours per day on the phone. When he’s not working at home, he’s spending more time than ever with his family.

“It’s allowed me to really evaluate my wife’s cooking, which she’s really appreciated,” Holtmann said. “All of that has been good. The time with them has been great.”

Holtmann liked the way his team was playing when the season ended March 12 with the cancellation of the Big Ten tournament and then the NCAA tournament because of the COVID-19 crisis. He talked about that and the state of his roster on a teleconference with reporters. Here are a few highlights:

On the general state of the program: “We were one of six teams to finish in the top 20 in offensive and defensive efficiency. We saw significant and real improvement and growth from our second year to our third year in those numbers. Those numbers certainly don’t guarantee you anything, but I think when you’re one of six teams to be top 20 in those two numbers, it certainly says you have a real chance to to advance. We all know the unpredictability of the NCAA tournament, and I’m not here to make a crazy claims but I certainly did feel confident about our ability to perform well.”

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On the Kaleb and Andre Wesson: “Obviously, Kaleb has put his name in (the draft), and I believe he’s really committed to this process as we expected that he would be. We fully support that. Caleb had a tremendous year for us, as did his brother. Those two guys will be significant losses for us, there’s no question.”

On CJ Walker putting his name in the draft: “I don’t want anybody to overreact. He fully expects and plans to come back and lead our team.”

On the rising number of transfers in college basketball: “It’s a variety of different reasons. Generally, players in those situations, they want a situation where maybe they are playing a different position or maybe they want more shot attempts or they want more of something. I think in very few cases is there anything else beyond that.”

On Harvard transfer Seth Towns joining roster: “Seth is obviously a really mature young man, having graduated from Harvard. That’s a tremendous honor, a tremendous accomplishment. He’s been coached really well. His shooting provides a real specific opportunity and need for us. Now we all know he has to get to place of health, but provided that happens, we’re really excited about his addition for the next couple of years.”

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