The Ohio State Buckeyes are coming off a disappointing season in which they finished 13th in the Big Ten and missed the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2016. However, head coach Chris Holtmann has reloaded his roster with a mix of returning veterans, talented transfers, and highly rated freshmen. Here is a breakdown of the Buckeyes’ projected roster and depth chart for the 2023-2024 season.
Starter: Bruce Thornton Backup: Dale Bonner
Bruce Thornton returns for his sophomore season as the Buckeyes’ starting point guard. He averaged 10.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game as a freshman, while shooting 37.5 percent from three-point range and 45.6 percent from the field. He is a strong and quick guard who can attack the rim, create for others, and defend at a high level. He ranked 17th in the Big Ten in offensive rating (113.7) and 20th in assists (92) last season1.
Dale Bonner is a graduate transfer from Baylor, where he played a reserve role for the Bears for two seasons. He averaged 4.7 points, 2.7 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 rebounds per game last season, while shooting 37.2 percent from beyond the arc and 44.1 percent from the field2. He is a versatile and experienced guard who can play both on and off the ball, as well as provide some defensive pressure.
Starter: Roddy Gayle Jr. Backup: Bowen Hardman
Roddy Gayle Jr. is a sophomore who transferred from Wasatch Academy in Utah, where he averaged 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists per game as a senior3. He is a four-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 48 player in the nation by ESPN4. He is a smooth and athletic wing who can score from all three levels, as well as rebound and defend multiple positions.
Bowen Hardman is a sophomore who played sparingly as a freshman, averaging 1.8 points and 0.6 rebounds per game in 5.8 minutes per game5. He is a sharpshooter who made 11 of his 22 three-point attempts last season (50 percent). He will look to earn more playing time with his shooting ability and improved defense.
Starter: Jamison Battle Backup: Evan Mahaffey
Jamison Battle is a graduate transfer from Minnesota, where he averaged 16.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game last season, while shooting 40 percent from three-point range and 43 percent from the field6. He was named to the All-Big Ten3rd Team by the media. He is a skilled and versatile forward who can stretch the floor, attack the basket, and play inside-out.
Evan Mahaffey is a sophomore who transferred from Penn State, where he averaged 3.9 points and 2.3 rebounds per game as a freshman. He is a three-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 10 player in Ohio by ESPN. He is a long and athletic wing who can slash to the rim, finish in transition, and defend multiple positions.
Starter: Zed Key Backup: Devin Royal
Zed Key is a senior who has been a solid contributor for the Buckeyes for three seasons. He averaged 8.9 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last season, while shooting 55 percent from the field. He is a strong and physical post player who can score with either hand, rebound on both ends, and protect the paint.
Devin Royal is a freshman who was ranked as the No. 8 player in Ohio by ESPN. He is a four-star recruit who averaged 18 points, eight rebounds, and four assists per game as a senior at Pickerington Central High School. He is a skilled and mobile forward who can shoot from the perimeter, handle the ball, and pass well.
Starter: Felix Okpara Backup: Austin Parks
Felix Okpara is a sophomore who transferred from Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Tennessee, where he averaged 12 points, nine rebounds, and four blocks per game as a senior. He is a four-star recruit who was ranked as the No. 39 player in the nation by ESPN. He is an elite shot-blocker who can alter shots at the rim, run the floor, and finish with authority.
Austin Parks is a freshman who was ranked as the No. 11 player in Ohio by ESPN. He is a three-star recruit who averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks per game as a senior at St. Mary’s Memorial High School. He is a big and strong center who can score in the post, rebound well, and set hard screens.
The Buckeyes have a deep and talented roster that should compete for the Big Ten title and make a deep run in the NCAA tournament. They have a balanced mix of scoring, shooting, defense, and experience. They also have a lot of versatility and size that will allow them to match up with different styles of play. Coach Holtmann has done a great job of rebuilding his program and has high expectations for the 2023-2024 season.