Although Justin Ahrens has not made much impact on the court for the Ohio State basketball team this season, coach Chris Holtmann called the freshman from Versailles “a tremendous asset” to the program.
"He’s been great in practice,” Holtmann said Wednesday. “And I think like any freshman you get knocked around a little bit and yelled at by the coaches — It’s a long season and that can get the best of you at times, but if we’re not correcting you, that’s when you start to worry. I think he understands it.”
The Midwest Athletic Conference’s all-time leading scorer has played in 15 games so far, logging 98 minutes and scoring 25 points.
He hasn’t found his shooting touch, hitting just 6 of 22 (27.3 percent) from 3-point range, but Holtmann is still happy with what he has seen from the 6-foot-5, 180-pounder who can play on the wing but also saw some time at the 4 when starting power forward Kyle Young was out with a foot stress fracture.
“He’s had a great approach and a great attitude,” the second-year Ohio State coach said.
Ahrens and classmate Jaedon LeDee saw an uptick in minutes during Young’s absence, but that has been curtailed with Young’s return two games ago.
“That’s the reality of college basketball,” Holtmann said. “I’ll have conversations with them but this time of year, their focus has to be on whatever happens I’ve got to be committed to trying to help our team win whether I play one possession or four possessions.
“The good ones figures that out, and you have a couple of great kids there in Justin and Jae. It’s their job really and they’ve done a great job with their approach.”
LeDee, a 6-9, 230-pound native of Houston, Texas, has scored 58 points, grabbed 38 rebounds and blocked five shots in 21 games this season.