Holtmann, OSU have playing time for taking

Chris Holtmann is calling a play, but he could also be saying how many talented graduate transfers he'd like to attract for next season

Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann came within one Big Ten Conference victory of hanging a league championship banner in his first season.

Now, though, it’s time to hang a, Help Wanted, sign.

Sure, Holtmann signed a well-regarded class of four recruits for next year, particularly given the duress of getting the job woefully late after athletic director Gene Smith took too long to make up his mind to fire Thad Matta.

But with Jae’Sean Tate, Andrew Dakich, Kam Williams and, perhaps, Keita Bates-Diop departing the roster, there’s a glaring lack of proven scoring returning for the 2018-19 season.

That’s why Holtmann has to be working the graduate transfer market in search of immediate assistance.

Dakich was an great find this past season, giving OSU necessary ballhandling and a steady hand at the point in relief of C.J. Jackson.

But this time, Holtmann must find something even more difficult -- a proven scorer to either take some pressure off Bates-Diop, should he return, or a guy to provide double-figure production to keep the offense humming with the loss to the NBA of the Big Ten’s MVP.

Such a player exists in Evansville’s Ryan Taylor, the Missouri Valley Conference’s leading scorer at 22.1 points-per game.

Taylor, a 6-6 guard, has asked for his release in the wake of head coach Marty Simmons’ firing.

There’s a competitive market for his services, howeer, so Holtmann will have to outhustle some competition within the conference and among some of college basketball’s most tradition-rich programs to add Taylor to the fold.

I don’t know if it’s a benefit or a drawback that Taylor, a native of Gary, Ind., played his freshman season at Ohio University.

Jim Christian recruited Taylor to play in Athens, but left before Taylor’s arrival on campus to take over at Boston College.

Taylor stuck around and started 28 of 29 games for the Bobcats as a freshman in Saul Phillips' first season as head coach.

Taylor averaged 8.1 points per-game, but left after that and transferred to Evansville.

He sat out the 2015-16 season, but has been a mainstay for the Purple Aces ever since.

The firing of head coach Marty Simmons precipitated Taylor to ask for a transfer.

OSU has three scholarships available for next season.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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