An in-state product from Crestview High School in Ohio, Kalen Etzler was the first member to commit to Ohio State’s class of 2021. According to 247Sports.com, Etzler was ranked as the country’s No. 154 recruit and the No. 4 player in Ohio.
Etzler was quick to verbally commit to the Buckeyes after receiving his scholarship offer. He led his high school to a state championship and averaged 19.3 points per game in his senior year.
Etzler will redshirt the 2021-2022 season, a mutual decision he and head coach Chris Holtmann made together. His goals are to put on more size and just learn from the guys around him at Ohio State.
“Just all about learning right now and trying to ask the guys what to do during practice, what to do during drills. Should I eat this? Stuff that small. I am just trying to learn as much as possible,” Etzler said recently at media day about his adjustment to freshman year.
It’s the small things that Etzler has been trying to figure out but he has freshman teammate Malaki Branham on his side and three transfers that came into the program this offseason.
Etzler had a big grin on his face when speaking about his decision to come to Ohio State. He knew that this was the correct decision ever since he committed and was not shying away from the fact he always wanted to be a Buckeye.
Etzler has also had the help of seniors like Harrison Hookfin on the sidelines talking to him and coaching him up.
“It’s nice to have him to ask the little questions,” Etzler said.
Experience is something the Buckeyes most definitely have and it shows with the many transfers and nearly every player on the roster having conference play under their belts.
“You got people like E.J. [Liddell], Joey [Brunk], and Zed [Key] who are strong as an ox,” Etzler said. “Being able to practice against them is going to be very beneficial when playing in the Big Ten.”
Practicing against Liddell and Brunk is no easy task, but Etlzer loves the competition in practice and says it will help down the line in conference games.
As Etzler will watch the season from the sidelines this year, he has high aspirations for his teammates and the potential that this team can make a deep postseason run.
“I believe in experience and the fact we are such an old team, and I think we are in the top 5 in terms of age for an NCAA team,” Etzler said. “That’s probably the biggest part about making such a deep tournament run because these guys have been around the game for so long. I think that extra experience will win us a lot of games.”
As the Buckeyes hope to add another banner to the Schott, they have a scrimmage against Ole Miss this Sunday and then the exhibition game on November 1 at home against Akron.