Ohio State men’s basketball coach spoke with reporters on Friday, providing updates on his basketball team and previewing Saturday’s 12:00 pm tip off against Indiana. Here are the highlights of everything Holtmann had to say.
— Indiana is an experienced team. Most people talk about Trayce Jackson-Davis, but they have more than just him. They are tough and well-coached. They have a real resiliency to them. It’s going to be a great challenge. “Our guys need to be ready.”
— Defensive commitment has to be a staple for this defense no matter how well the offense plays. This team has had difficulties defensively at times, so they need to continue to get better and can’t just write it off. They are coaching competitiveness and attention to detail.
— Trayce Jackson-Davis had difficulties against Ohio State last year because of Kaleb Wesson’s length and size. Plus he was younger than he is now. He’s more mature and has grown. Defending him this year is going to be much different. He impacts the game in a number of ways, offensively and defensively. “Every area of his game has improved.”
— Big Ten basketball in general is tight games, and that’s what Indiana has been all year. “We expect it to go down to the last couple of minutes.” That’s been the tone of Indiana’s league games this year.
— Jae’Sean Tate has been phenomenal this year with the Houston Rockets. It’s been great getting to watch him. It’s not a surprise to those who have seen him around Ohio State. “He really fits today’s NBA.” He’s gifted athletically and he has the will, competitiveness, and character to succeed.
— This game is much bigger than just Jackson-Davis vs. EJ Liddell. Now, whoever is most effective between the two could carry their respective team to victory.
— He’s not yet gone down the road about finding out about the Big Ten regular season championship and how teams are going to make up games. They may eventually get to that point.
— Meechie Johnson is a great kid and he wants to learn. He has taken a mature stance on how he can help this year while also how does this help him in the future. Give him credit for his growth and maturity. He understands that there will be games where he doesn’t play much, but he continue to prepare as if the minutes will be heavy.
— He felt this team has bought in since day one, but it’s also a fluid thing. Last year’s team was all bought in but sometimes you still hit bad stretches like they did in January. They bounced back and were playing great when things got shut down.
— It’s a credit to CJ Walker that he’s been able to return and assimilate into a team that was playing very well and has made the team better. He adds so many things in different areas and he’s not forced anything. Also, when he was out there were games where the ballhandling clearly wore down. “He’s still injured. His hand still bothers him.” He wants to play. He’s not starting yet, but he’s playing most of the late-game situations. “I’m sure he’ll start on senior day.”
— Zed Key has fared “really good” against the top centers he has faced. “He’ll have his hands full tomorrow. He’s still coming back from a little bit of an ankle sprain from the other day.” “We don’t have a number of these wins without him.”
— This is CJ Walker’s last year and he’s going pro after this year and so the injury was tough in terms of being patient with him. Walker wanted to play as much as he could, so shutting him down was a tough decision for everyone.
— Indiana has a variety of talented guys that make them difficult to guard.
— It wasn’t a great game or great night for Justice Sueing against Maryland. He could have played more but Holtmann was rolling with other combos that were working. “It wasn’t anything specific.” Sueing knows he needs to keep his motor up.