Wright State basketball: Tanner Holden transfers back to Raiders from Ohio St.

Coach Nagy happy to have one of stars of NCAA tournament season back, says immediate eligibility still work in progress

FAIRBORN — Tanner Holden left a gaping hole when he transferred from Wright State after leading his team to its first NCAA tourney win in 2022, taking his 20-point per game average to Ohio State.

But his stay with the Buckeyes was short-lived, and the 6-foot-6 wing took to social media on Tuesday to announce he was returning to the school where he once thrived, posting a video of his Raider highlights while pop star Skylar Grey sang, “Coming Home.”

The move had been rumored for weeks, and coach Scott Nagy is ecstatic to officially have Holden back with the Raiders.

“He’s got experience. He was in our system three years and knows us well. We already have a pretty experienced team with the players we have. He just adds to that,” Nagy said.

“But mostly, we’re happy for him and glad he’s back in a place where he feels comfortable.”

Credit: Darron Cummings

Credit: Darron Cummings

It’s not immediately clear whether Holden will be eligible next season. NCAA rules allow for one transfer without a sit-out year, but not two.

A player has to graduate if he chooses to transfer a second time and seek immediate eligibility — or get an NCAA waiver that a transfer is needed because of off-the-court hardship the player is facing.

All of that still needs to be worked out.

“There’s a lot of work to be done in terms of the eligibility piece. We’ll just follow that process and see where it goes,” Nagy said.

Holden was a two-time, first-team All-Horizon League pick in 2021 and ‘22, while also being named to the all-freshman team in ‘20.

He’s 11th on the Raiders’ career scoring list with 1,481 points and has a 16.1 career average. He’s also eighth in career rebounds with 639 for a 6.9 average.

He set a Wright State single-season record for free throws made (221) and attempted (280) in 2021-22, far surpassing the previous marks. His 723 points that season are second to Bill Edwards’ 757 in 1992-93.

Credit: Jeff Dean

Credit: Jeff Dean

After helping WSU back to the NCAA Tournament stage, he posted 37 points and 11 rebounds in the Raiders’ First Four victory over Bryant in March 2022, before a loss to No. 1 seed Arizona.

Holden’s lone season in Columbus was a disappointment. Though he did hit a game-winning 3 in Ohio State’s Big Ten regular-season opener against Rutgers, he averaged just 3.6 points in 27 games. His playing time dwindled as the season progressed.

But that’s behind him now.

“He got in the transfer portal, but he was a ‘no contact,’ so he had to contact us,” Nagy said. “We were obviously thrilled to hear from him. But there were still, for us, all kinds of things to work through.

“You want to make sure the players who were here when he left are OK with it. But they love Tanner. When he left, it was hard for everybody. But they also want to win, so they’re glad to have him back.”

Credit: Jay LaPrete

Credit: Jay LaPrete

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