For the first time since 2008, the Ohio State Men’s Basketball Team unveiled on Tuesday its group of captains.
However, the Buckeyes did not go without their team-elected leaders. Head coach Chris Holtmann said the team have kept their captains in-house and still host a captains dinner every season.
Senior forwards Justin Ahrens, junior EJ Liddell, senior redshirt Justice Sueing and graduate Kyle Young have been named by compatriots Buckeyes to lead them to the 2021-22 season, a campaign where Ohio State is looking to bounce back from a upheaval in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“I think it’s a great honor for these guys,” said Holtmann. “There is a real responsibility to be a captain. It is an honor to be named.
The fifth-year head coach said he loved what the Buckeyes’ football program does to recognize his group of captains during each preseason, and decided to take a page from Ryan’s playbook. Day.
Holtmann added that he could have limited the number of captains to three instead of four, but with 15 players on the roster, he wanted to ensure that the responsibilities were widely shared.
“I can’t wait to see these guys embrace this and make it their own because every time you get something like that, there’s something being asked of you,” Holtmann said. “I think the challenge for these guys is when you’re a young player all you really think about is yourself. You think, “Can I get through this practice? How do I play? ‘ You hope that as you get older, and certainly as you become a captain, your perspective changes.
Liddell comes out with the least experience of the group, with his third season on the Ohio State program on the horizon. He had a big impact on the Buckeyes a year ago, winning first-team All-Big Ten honors – the first to do so since Keita Bates-Diop in 2018.
Holtmann said he’s noticed Liddell getting more vocal during the preseason, and his presence among the Buckeyes has been the biggest noticeable difference since the Illinois native joined the program.
“He was really consistent in his work every day,” said Holtmann. “I think he makes a lot of his own being a guy who turns up the energy in the room every time he’s there.”
Ahrens, Sueing and Young have each played over 1,000 minutes in their careers, and the last two Buckeyes hold more than double that number. Combined with Liddell’s development, the State of Ohio will call on the group to lead a team with 10 senior students and only five lower students.
Holtmann expects the captain’s quartet to take on a heavy leadership load, and that task soon approaches as the Buckeyes begin their season against Akron on November 9.
“You think of ‘How do we play’ as opposed to ‘How do I play? “They will always be motivated to perform at their highest level, but that perspective changes and should change when you become captain,” said Holtmann. “Glad to see these guys own this.”