Ohio State Buckeyes: Holtmann expects Wright State transfer to need time to acclimate

COLUMBUS -- Ohio State basketball coach Chris Holtmann met with reporters Monday to preview his team’s upcoming trip to the Bahamas.

The media availability also offered a chance to see a pair of players who spent part of their careers in the Dayton area practice with the Buckeyes.

Tanner Holden, an All-Horizon League First Team player at Wright State, and Sean McNeil, who was a high-scoring guard for Sinclair Community College before becoming an honorable mention All-Big 12 pick at West Virginia both figure to be in the mix in the backcourt for Ohio State, which lost a big chunk of its 2021-22 team to graduation or early entry to the NBA.

The Buckeyes are set to face the Egyptian National Team and the Puerto Rican National Team when they travel south the the Caribbean later this week.

Holtmann said those are expected to be two of the tougher teams who will be part of the action, and he is looking forward to his team’s many new faces to get a chance to build chemistry.

“Most coaches will tell you that on these trips that it’s the practices that are most valuable,” Holtmann said. “Coaches can script who they play, and I’ve had a coach tell me, ‘I want to play two teams that we’re definitely going to beat so our team has great confidence.’ I’m not concerned about that. We’ll just play who we play and go from there.”

What sorts of roles McNeil, who averaged 12.2 points per game and shot 36.8 percent from 3-point range last season, and Holden will carve out remains to be seen as Holtmann also welcomes in what’s widely considered his best recruiting class since replacing Thad Matta as head coach five years ago.

Holden averaged 20.1 points per game last season for the Horizon League Tournament champions, and Holtmann said he expects him to need some time to get acclimated to a different level of competition.

“Tanner’s been good,” he said. “I think Tanner is going to continue to adjust to the length and speed of the game. We’re excited about his continued growth. I think there’ll be some transition elements for him for sure here.”

Holtmann praised McNeil for providing some guidance and leadership as one of the older players in the guys this summer.

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