Getting to Know Tony Skinn: Basketball Coaches, Directors, and Analysts Sound off on Ohio State’s New Assistant

On June 9th, 2017 Chris Holtmann took over as the head basketball coach at Ohio State. He brought with him all three of his assistant coaches at Butler: Ryan Pedon, Terry Johnson, and Mike Schrage. Almost four years later, Pedon is the only original assistant who remains.

In April of 2019, Shrage left Columbus to take the head job at Elon. Holtmann brought in former Vanderbilt assistant and Ohio native Jake Diebler to take his spot on the bench. A little over two years later, the Buckeyes now have the country’s top-ranked 2022 recruiting class and Diebler is the lead recruiter for all three members of the class. It’s safe to say that hire has gone over well.

This past April, long-time Holtmann assistant Terry Johnson left Ohio State for the same position at Big Ten foe Purdue. As a result, Holtmann had to begin another assistant coach search, and today that search ended as Tony Skinn is set to leave Seton Hall for the open position in Columbus.

As for Skinn’s background, he played point guard at Goerge Mason from 2003-2006 where he led them to an improbable Final Four run. He played overseas for six more seasons before taking up coaching. He began his coaching career as an assistant coach for D.C.-based EYBL team, Team Takeover from 2012-2015. After that, he was hired as an assistant at Louisiana Tech in 2015 before leaving for Seton Hall in 2018 where he has been for three seasons. Long story short, despite being only 38, ‘Coach Skinn’ has been around and is well liked across the country.

Buckeye Scoop caught up with a number of AAU program directors, coaches, and other college basketball analysts to get their thoughts on what Ohio State is getting.

Team Takeover Assistant Basketball Coach, Derrick Washington Sr.:

Coach Skinn has been a fixture in the DMV area for years, what is the perception of him there?

“Tony is a great guy and is well respected in our area… He recruits our entire area (Baltimore, PG / Montgomery County, DC and VA). Has strong ties and from experience communicates with us coaches often.”

Since heading to the college basketball ranks how active has he been in recruiting Team Takeover and the DMV?

“One of his main recruits at LA Tech was Anthony Duruji who is now at Florida via LA Tech, and while at Seton Hall a majority of our top players had Seton Hall as one of their favorite options due to how Tony recruited them.”

With his reputation can Coach Skinn help Ohio State recruit the DMV better?

“I think with all the resources at OSU he will do even better there.”

SUVtv National Recruiting Directior and All-Ohio Red Recruitng Coordinator Justin Brantley: 

What makes Coach Skinn different or unique from the rest of the college coaches you know?

“Skinn is different because of his understanding of interpersonal relationships and their necessity in coaching/recruiting. He is an open-door type guy. When I was in New York on a visit I reached out to him and he made me feel welcome and at home at Seton Hall. I haven’t had a player for him in the past and who knows if I’d ever have one for him in the future but he always answered when I called with questions, reached out to say hey, and it’s clear he doesn’t view industry relationships as transactional.”

When it comes to X’s & O’s and being a teacher of the game what can you say about Coach Skinn?

“From an X’s & O’s standpoint, I will say he is a student of the game and has coached it at a very high level. As a point guard he understands what it takes to win and he’s translated that to his coaching and mentoring of some of the best guards the Big East has seen in years!” 

Since picking up coaching he has been highly sought after, why is that?

“I think he’s sought after for many reasons. He’s a great communicator, has a high basketball I.Q., and is a WINNER. He also is an exceptional recruiter that has ties nationwide as well as abroad (from his experience with the Nigerian National Team). He also knows pretty much everyone. He spent time with Team Takeover and is well know in the EYBL and other grassroots circles. He checks off all of the boxes when you’re looking for a coach.” Founder and National Basketball Scout Kellen Buffington:

When it comes to building relationships what can you say about Coach Skinn?

“Coach Skinn’s ability to connect and relate with players and program directors is second to none. He’s able to build and sustain relationships because he’s genuine, trustworthy and he’s lived it as a player.” 

What are your thoughts on Coach Skinn as a worker and evalulaor of talent? 

“Skinn has a natural eye for talent. He follows up every lead on a prospective player and he does his due diligence researching if the player is a good fit for the program he’s in. He’s not just about talent but fit for the program as well.”

If you had to pinpoint what makes him such a sought after coach what would you say it is?

“What makes Skinn a highly sought after coach is his WORK. He works as hard as anybody I’ve encountered in this game. Couple that with his relationships near and abroad and his resume as a player and you have a big time coach who I expect to be leading a power 5 program in the near future.” Founder and National Basketball Recruiting Analyst Jake Weingarten:

What is the perception of Coach Skinn among recruits you have talked to?

“A lot of recruits i’ve talked with have spoken very highly of Coach Skinn. One thing I’d agree on with on them is he’s personable. He understands your average day kid and he’s a very cool coach, but don’t let him fool you. He’s an outstanding X’s and O’s guy as well. Really knows his stuff and will rise the ranks for years.”

Geographically, where might Coach Skinn be able to help Ohio State recruit better?

“Tony Skinn is strong on the East Coast but if I had to signal out one spot he’s got strong ties in, it’s the DMV. He knows man, the guy is a literal mind reader. Knows the game and these kids well. He just gets it.”

What can you say about Coach Skinn as a relationship builder?

“Relationship wise, it’s all in what I said, the man is very personable and knows the game well, mixing those two and giving it a nice balance from a recruiting approach could be a very lethal combination. Now that he has a platform like Ohio State’s, I think it can go even better for him.”