This year’s edition of the Ohio State men’s basketball team is going to be quite a bit different than the team fans saw last season. Only four scholarship holdovers return, and two of those players — Justice Sueing and Kalen Etzler — were essentially unavailable last season.
Nine new Buckeyes will be on the court this season, including a 5-man freshman class that was ranked eighth nationally in recruiting circles.
Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann has already said that this freshman class will be heavily involved this season, and that includes point guard Bruce Thornton and shooting guard Roddy Gayle.
Together, they could be the Buckeyes’ backcourt of the future. But the present doesn’t look too shabby either.
What will they be bringing to the program when the games get underway?
“I bring a high energy,” Thornton told Buckeye Huddle. “I bring a bright energy about myself. I lift everybody up. If you’re not up, I’m gonna lift you up somehow, someway. That’s the person who I am.”
Thornton was ranked the No. 10 point guard in the 2022 recruiting class and the No. 47 player overall. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, he can muscle his way into the paint and either finish or pass. But it’s his energy that is first off the bus.
Being a point guard and floor general, energy is a must, and it does not go unappreciated.
“I feel like Bruce puts a battery in my back,” Gayle told Buckeye Huddle. “Sometimes I might be a little slow or sluggish, but his ability to talk to me and push me is like no other. I’ve never really played with anybody that can push me like he can.”
Gayle is the highest-rated member of OSU’s freshman class, coming in one spot ahead of Thornton at No. 46 nationally, and the No. 2 shooting guard in the class.
What will Buckeye fans find out quickly about Gayle?
“I feel like Buckeye fans will know who I am based off my offense and defense,” Gayle said. “I don’t just side on one side of the ball. I can play on the ball and off the ball, both offensively and defensively, and they will see that.”
Ohio State is adding a number of veteran transfers as well, including point forward Isaac Likekele from Oklahoma State, shooting guard Sean McNeil from West Virginia, and wing Tanner Holden from Wright State. It’s a versatile and talented group, which means the Buckeyes won’t have to rely heavily on Thornton or Gayle until they are ready.
But when they are finally ready, it could be something special for all involved.
“Me and Roddy could be like a one-two punch,” Thornton said of the future. “I feel like we’re very diverse, very versatile. Especially me being undersized, I feel like I can do anything anybody else can do on the court. The amount of work I put in during the summer, I feel like there’s nothing somebody can tell me what I can’t do. I feel like me and Roddy in the future can be something special.”
As for Roddy Gayle, he is setting his sights even higher.
“The best backcourt ever,” he said. “I feel like we have a great future in the Big Ten. I feel like our game complements each other. I’m really excited to see what the future holds.”