College basketball: Justin Ahrens transferring from Ohio State

Justin Ahrens is not done playing college basketball, but the Versailles grad won’t be back in an Ohio State uniform.

He confirmed that Monday night with a social media post.

“These past four years have been nothing short of the best time of my life,” Ahrens wrote on Twitter. “I want to thank my family and those who’ve supported me along this journey. I’m extremely grateful for my teammates, all the relationships I have made and want to personally thank Coach Holtmann and staff for giving me the opportunity to represent The Ohio State University. It has been a blessing and I thank God I was given the opportunity.

“I am excited for the next chapter… wherever that may be!”

Ahrens has a year of eligibility remaining because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but his exit does not come as a surprise after he went through Senior Day at Ohio State last month.

The 6-foot-6 forward is Versailles’ all-time leading scorer. He was named Ohio’s Division III Player of the Year and Midwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year as a senior. He was a three-star prospect and the No. 7 player in Ohio coming out of high school four years ago.

He initially committed to Ohio State while Thad Matta was still running the program then re-committed after Chris Holtmann took over in 2017.

Ahrens played 114 career games in scarlet and gray, including 41 starts.

He started 18 games as a junior when he averaged 5.7 points per game and shot 42.5 percent from 3-point range. He started 19 games last season and averaged 4.8 points while hitting 34.6 percent of his shots from beyond the arc.

Ohio State went 20-12 last season and finished in a tie for fourth place in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes were a seven seed in the NCAA Tournament and beat Loyola-Chicago in the first round before getting knocked out by Villanova in round two.

Top scorers E.J. Liddell and Malaki Branham have entered their names in the NBA Draft, but Branham has maintained the option of returning.

Big man Zed Key (7.8 points per game) could be the only player returning next season who averaged more than five points per game, but Holtmann signed the No. 5 recruiting class in the country last fall and added Wright State transfer Tanner Holden this week.

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