Ohio State basketball adding familiar name from transfer portal

Jake Diebler’s first Ohio State basketball roster is taking shape.

The Buckeyes lost former top 100 recruit Scotty Middleton to the transfer portal Monday, but Tuesday saw center Felix Okpara and point guard Bruce Thornton announce they will be Buckeyes next season.

Joining them on the roster next season will be Meechie Johnson, a 6-foot-2 guard from Cleveland who played in 43 games for the Buckeyes in 2020-21 and ‘21-22 before transferring to South Carolina.

He averaged 12.7 points per game in his first season with the Gamecocks then led them in scoring this season with a 13.8 average.

Thornton led the Big Ten in assist/turnover ratio (3.46) this season and was a third-team All-Big Ten pick in his second season as the Buckeyes’ point guard.

He was Ohio State’s leading scorer on the season (15.7 points per game) and handed out 168 assists while nabbing 41 steals in 35 games.

Also a sophomore, the 6-11 Okpara became a starter last season and averaged 6.6 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He also blocked 83 shots.

Johnson is one of multiple players to leave Ohio State during the Chris Holtmann era and thrive elsewhere.

Jaedon LeDee spent one season at Ohio State before transferring to TCU, but the Texas native really found a home at San Diego State.

He made the Final Four with the Aztecs last season then was one of the best big men in the country this year when he averaged 21.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game and was one of five finalists for the Karl Malone Award as the nation’s best power forward.

Tanner Holden also returned to being a productive player at Wright State after Holtmann failed to find a role for him (and many other players) on a losing Ohio State team in 2022-23.

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