Ohio State Basketball: Jake Diebler’s First Offseason Preview

North Carolina guard Caleb Love, left, guards Ohio State guard Bruce Thornton, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the CBS Sports Classic, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2022, in New York.
AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson

Ohio State basketball head coach Jake Diebler is heading into his first offseason with strong momentum that he hopes will translate throughout the program.

On Tuesday night, Ohio State’s season ended with a 79-77 loss to Georgia in the NIT Quarterfinals. The season was not perfect, but the team never gave up. On February 13th the team was 15-12 and 4-10 in conference play. Chris Holtmann was let go a day later.

Jake Diebler was promoted to the Interim Head Coach as Ohio State wanted to finish the season on a high note with little expectations. Diebler helped the team close out the season 6-2 and earn the No. 2 seed in the NIT Tournament. 

Ohio State matched up with Cornell in the first round, one of the best teams out of the Ivy League. They gave Ohio State a legitimate test and took them to the wire before the Buckeyes were able to pull away. Virginia Tech beat Richmond in their first-round matchup to set up a date in the second round of the tournament. However, Ohio State handled Virginia Tech late to move onto the quarterfinals, one win away from making the semifinals.

Georgia came into Value City Arena riding off a big victory against No. 1-seed Wake Forest. The Bulldogs came into the Schott and pulled off another upset after the Buckeyes went on a 17-0 run in the last 7 minutes but were unable to maintain the lead late.  

With the Buckeyes’ season over that means it is time for Jake Dieblers’ first offseason as a head coach. Ohio State goes into the offseason with one open scholarship to recruit within the transfer portal. There could be guys who enter the transfer portal in the next few weeks which would open more scholarships to recruit with. Let’s look at the roster right now for next season.  

Guards: Bruce Thornton (JR), Roddy Gayle Jr (JR), Bowen Hardman (JR), Scotty Middleton (SO), Taison Chatman (SO), Colby Baumann (JR)*

Forwards: Evan Mahaffey (JR), Devin Royal (SO), Kalen Etzler (JR), Zed Key (GR)**

Centers: Felix Okpara (JR), Austin Parks (SO)

Incoming Freshman: 4-Star Guard Juni Mobley Wasatch Academy, Utah & 3-Star Forward Colin White Ottawa-Glandorf, Ohio

Graduating Seniors: Jamison Battle, Dale Bonner, Owen Spencer, Zed Key

Key: *Walk-on **Could Return 

Ohio State could retain most of its roster next season but there will more than likely be departures into the transfer portal soon. Coach Diebler has already been active in the portal, reaching out to multiple players. Below is the list of players departing and whom Ohio State has reached out.  

Reached Out –  

Jalen Sullinger 5’11 Junior Guard Kent State | 15.4 PPG 2.4 APG 2.6 RPG 42% FG 39% 3PT

2022-23 MAC 6th Man of The Year, 2023-24 All-MAC Third Team. Played High School Basketball at Thomas Worthington High School in Worthington, Ohio. Father JJ Sullinger played for Ohio State from 2002-2005, Related to former Buckeye Jared Sullinger. Two Years of Eligibility Remaining.

Ra’Heim Moss 6’4 Junior Guard Toledo | 15.5 PPG 5.4 RPG 3.0 APG 46.2% FG 30.8% 3PT

2021-22 All-MAC Freshman Team, 2023-24 All-MAC First Team, NABC All-District 14. Played High School Basketball at Springfield High School in Springfield, Ohio. All-around athlete in high school, chose to play basketball at Toledo over football scholarships to Cincinnati and Kentucky. Two Years of Eligibility Remaining.

Tony Perkins 6’4 Senior Guard Iowa | 14 PPG 4.4 RPG 4.6 APG 43.2% FG 29.9% 3PT

2022-23 Honorable Mention All-Big Ten, 2021-22 Hawkeye Co Most Improved Player. One Year of Eligibility reaming.

Tucker Anderson 6’9 Freshman Forward Central Arkansas | 14.5 PPG 3.7 RPG 1.5 APG 41.5% FG 38.1% 3PT

2023-24 A-Sun Freshman Of The Year, A-Sun All Freshman Team, McDonalds All-America Game Nominee, Bentonville West All Time Leading Scorer with 1,281 points, Mother Sheila Anderson won two national championships as a player at Tennessee. Three Years of Eligibility remaining.

Rowan Brumbaugh 6’4 Freshman Guard Georgetown | 8.3 PPG 2.2 RPG 2.6 APG

Former 4-Star prospect, committed to Texas out of high school before redshirting his freshman season with the longhorns. Transferred to the Hoyas as a redshirt freshman. Led Northfield Mount Hermon to a 33-6 overall record and an appearance in the NEPSAC AAA championship game as a senior. Three years of eligibility left.

**Matt Allocco 6’4 Senior Guard Princeton | 12.7 PPG 2.9 RPG 3.3 APG 50.8% FG 42.7% FT

Reported that Allocco visited on March 28th and is battling Rutgers as well as one other mystery team. Allocco is a two time Second-Team All-Ivy League selection. Played high school at Hilliard Bradley located in Hilliard, Ohio. Two time conference player of the year as well as being named to the All District team. Speculated that he has one year of eligibility left. 

Meechie Johnson 6’2 Junior Guard South Carolina | 14.1 PPG 4.1 RPG 2.9 APG 39.9% FG 32.1% 3PT

Meechie is very familiar to Buckeye Nation. Played his first two seasons in Columbus, but could never see consistent minutes on the floor. He transferred to South Carolina where he was able to change the narrative of his career. This past season he was able to help South Carolina go 26-8 which is their best record in the past decade, on top of leading the Gamecocks to a top three finish in the SEC, he was named to the second team All-SEC. Johnson’s recruitment has been fairly quiet so far, but 247 Sports lead basketball analyst Travis Branham has placed a Crystal Ball for the Buckeyes to land Johnson. Two Years of eligibility left.

Adou Thiero 6’8 Sophomore Forward Kentucky | 7.2 PPG 5.0 1.1 APG 49.2% FG 31.8% 3PT

Thiero broke out this season but did not see consistent minutes towards the end of the season. He was a former 3-star recruit and chose Kentucky over Maryland and Xavier. Played both Soccer and Lacrosse while in high school and helped lead his high school to a Basketball Championship game. Two Years of eligibility left.

Carey Booth 6’10 Freshman Forward Notre Dame | 6.4 PPG 4.3 RPG 0.5 APG 39.1% FG 29.7% 3PT

Booth was a key addition to Micah Shrewsberry’s first class at Notre Dame. He was a former four-star recruit and was invited to the 2022 Pangos All-American game. He would instantly help the front court and add a big who can shoot the three when needed. Three Years of Eligibility left.

Departures –  

Bowen Hardman 6’3 Sophomore Guard | 1.8 PPG 45.8% FG 45% 3PT
Princeton Ohio Native, Saw action in 25 games across two seasons for Buckeyes, Scored a career high 11 points against Nebraska.

Scotty Middleton 6’7 Freshman Guard/Forward | 4.4 PPG 1.4 RPG 0.7 APG 39.8% FG 45% 3PT

The former four-star out of Sunrise Christian high school was a main piece in last season’s recruiting class and had a solid first season for the Buckeyes. In thirty games played this season, he averaged 4.4 points per game while shooting 39% from the field and 45% from three. He missed the Buckeye’s NIT run due to a unspecified family emergency back home.

This list will be updated as we hear more news coming out of the Buckeye program.