Chris Holtmann Ohio State Buckeyes

Chris Holtmann Addresses Mini-Slide, Provides Latest On Zed Key

COLUMBUS — Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann met with reporters on Monday to provide some updates on his squad and look forward to what is up next this coming week. The highlights of everything that was said can be found below.

  • This is another important week with Minnesota on Thursday. The Gophers are fully healthy now and they are rounding into form and playing well.
  • No updates yet on Zed Key. He is making regular progress in regards to his shoulder. Sean McNeil played through an ankle issue that happened in the Purdue game. They expect him to progress as well.
  • What is he asking the guys to understand better when being pressed? They saw three different presses against Rutgers and Bruce Thornton was phenomenal with how he attacked it. Rutgers is really good at it. OSU struggled against it in the UNC game and Purdue game. They did a good job for the most part yesterday and there were times they could have attacked it better but didn’t.
  • Are teams forcing Bruce Thornton into different shots? Don’t think so. Don’t think it’s fatigue either. There are just going to be ebbs and flows to the freshmen and how they play. That’s just the reality of relying on freshmen. That’s what he’s said from the beginning. Thornton and the others have to work through this “and I know they will.”
  • When you play against a team like Maryland that changes their defenses, you need the ability to play through the post like they can with Zed Key. They weren’t able to do that yesterday and they lost his physicality in the paint. You also saw the lack of offensive and defensive rebounding. They also don’t have anybody who can get the opposing post in foul trouble right now. Felix Okpara needs to learn to be smarter on defense, which he will. In his defense, OSU didn’t put him in great position defensively because they had guys going for shot fakes. They will continue to express to him that he needs to be on the court for 20-25 minutes.
  • They’ve got to be better with the first four minutes of the second half. The older guys need to lead the way in that situation. They had three freshmen in the starting lineup yesterday, but they have to be better than that to start the second half.
  • Bruce Thornton has been better against the press in other games. He will get better, but it’s a lot for a young kid to go through that.
  • Roddy Gayle needs to hang his hat on being a defensive-minded perimeter player for them. His offense will continue to grow. He will be a very good player for them eventually.
  • The biggest upside for this program is if you can keep talented young guys together for multiple years, and then add in some veteran transfers. They have the young players this year and next year. They have a high ceiling as long as they stay healthy. The challenge is knowing there will be growing pains and then managing them and understanding that it’s all part of the process.
  • There is so much parity in college basketball right now. There are some really good teams that are 1-4 in league play.
  • Brice Sensabaugh has to go through his growing pains on defense. He is hungry to get better. He sees his issues. He is self aware. He’s not oblivious to it. They do need to figure out ways to keep teams from attacking him so much, but he also has to do a better job of not fouling in certain situations. But going through all of this will be the greatest teacher for him.
  • Against Maryland, 41% of OSU’s minutes were from freshmen. Maryland had 0% of their minutes attributed to freshmen. That’s not an excuse, that’s just the reality of Ohio State this year and the issues that they know they have to neutralize.
  • The freshmen have all had a level of success this year, but have also had their struggles. It’s different when it’s during a game and everybody gets to see you struggle. Holtmann has to tell them that this is about the team getting better and growing forward. There’s no reason to be embarrassed about struggles.
  • Isaac Likekele is in a really good place right now. He is doing whatever Holtmann is asking him to do. He wants to be a college coach so he understands the importance of doing whatever is needed.
  • They went stretched on defense yesterday against Maryland where they just couldn’t get stops. They do have a defensive lineup that they can put in there, which they did, but they then have to sacrifice some offense in those cases.

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