Hooley: Holtmann can coach, now what's left?

posted by Bruce Hooley -

Chris Holtmann may not have understood this official's call, but he's had all the right answers for OSU so far

I had my doubts about Chris Holtmann's degree of initial buy-in when named Ohio State's head basketball coach. For my taste, he spoke way too glowingly of his former job at Butler and not nearly as enthusiastically about the possibilities ahead of him at OSU. 

Hopefully, we're past all that now that Holtmann has the Buckeyes off to a stunning 9-0 start in the Big Ten after their 64-59 win over Nebraska. 

There is no doubt Holtmann can coach. The effort he gets out of a roster that last season too often played listlessly and emotionless should have Holtmann atop every list for national coach of the year at the mid-point of the season. 

The only remaining doubt about him is whether he can recruit elite talent. I'm giving him leeway on the apparent departures of Pickerington North's Jerome Hunter to Indiana and Pick Central's Jeremiah Francis to North Carolina, because their decisions came soon after Holtmann's arrival. 

I know this from what I've seen so far: If Holtmann can recruit great players, he will certainly mold them into a team that plays hard, plays smart and has OSU in the Top 25 routinely. 

I'd expect his teams to feature few one-and-dones and numerous three- and four-year players. That's not necessarily a bad thing in an era where college basketball is a brief rest stop for the best high school talent en route to the NBA.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

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Bruce Hooley

Bruce Hooley

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