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COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Ohio State men's basketball team held its annual media day Wednesday afternoon at the Schottenstein Center. The Buckeye upperclassmen met with members of the media to discuss to 2017-18 campaign.
HOLTMANN ERA BEGINS IN COLUMBUS
June 9, 2017 marked the first day of the Chris Holtmann era at Ohio State. After six seasons as a head coach, including the last three at Butler, Holtmann becomes the 14th head coach in Ohio State men's basketball history. In his young career to date, Holtmann already has earned coach of the year honors in both the Big South Conference (2013), where he spent three seasons coaching Gardner-Webb (2001-13), and in the Big East (2017) in the final of three seasons with the Bulldogs. His first game in Columbus will be the 200th of his head coaching career (114-85).
A LOOK AT THE BUCKEYES
Seniors Kam Williams, now in his fifth year, and Jae'Sean Tate are the most experienced Buckeyes on the 2017-18 roster with 102 and 95 games played, respectively. Keita Bates-Diop, who sat out the majority of the 2016-17 season with a stress fracture, is next at 75 games played. No other returning player has appeared in more than 32 games in an Ohio State uniform. Heading into the 2017-18 campaign, Ohio State will have seven players new to the program.
NOTING THE 2017-18 SCHEDULE
- The Buckeyes will again take part in the annual Big Ten/ACC Challenge. Ohio State welcomes Clemson to Columbus Nov. 29 this year.
- In honor of Nike's Phil Knight's 80th birthday, Ohio State will travel to Portland, Oregon, for three games the week of Thanksgiving after a home game vs. Northeastern Nov. 19 for the PK80 Invitational Nov. 23-26. Ohio State opens the event in Portland vs. Gonzaga Nov. 23.
- Now in its fourth year, Ohio State will again play in the CBSSports Classic. The event will take place in New Orleans this season Dec. 23. The Buckeyes take on defending national champion North Carolina while Kentucky takes on UCLA. The Buckeyes face both teams that squared off for the 2017 NCAA title this season (Gonzaga and UNC).
- Two Big Ten Conference games will be played in early December this year as the conference showcases its annual postseason tournament a week earlier than normal at Madison Square Garden in New York (Feb. 28-March 4). Ohio State travels to Wisconsin for a Dec. 2 matchup with the Badgers before returning home to take on Michigan Dec. 4 in Columbus.
- Two of Ohio State's nine league road games will be played in non-traditional venues this season. Ohio State faces Northwestern Jan. 17 at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, while renovations take place at the Wildcats' Welsh-Ryan Arena. The Buckeyes and Minnesota will play at Madison Square Garden in New York Jan. 20 as part of the 2018 Big Ten Super Saturday double-header with the hockey programs from Minnesota and Michigan State.
- The Buckeyes will have 18 home games in 2017-18 plus an exhibition contest vs. the College of Wooster Nov. 5.
- Eight Big Ten Conference opponents take on the Buckeyes once this year. Ohio State plays host to Illinois, Maryland, Michigan State and Nebraska and travel only to Minnesota (neutral site), Northwestern (Allstate Arena, Rosemont, Illinois), Purdue and Wisconsin. The Buckeyes play Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State and Rutgers both home and away.
- Ohio State will play 17 regular-season games against 14 teams that advanced to postseason play in 2017. Eleven games are scheduled vs. 2017 NCAA Tournament teams (Wisconsin, Gonzaga, Northwestern, Maryland, Minnesota, Texas Southern, North Carolina, Michigan (2), Purdue and Michigan State) while six contests pit the Buckeyes vs. 2017 NIT squads (Illinois, Clemson, Indiana (2) and Iowa (2).
- Every Ohio State game will be available on BTN, ESPN, FOX or CBS platforms. At least one home game (Michigan State) and a neutral site game (North Carolina) are scheduled for CBS.
Quotes and video from Coach Holtmann's media availability will be available after his press conference Thursday afternoon.
Ohio State Media Day Player Quotes
Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State redshirt junior forward
On how he balances competing and being a mentor to young players
"After a play I will approach them and let them know what to do for future reference. Obviously, I am going to continue to compete and push them, but at the same time, there is a teaching aspect to it."
On the goal for the season
"I don't think that we can look back at these past few years. We don't have the same players or the same coaches. At this point, it's a clean slate and we are moving forward. This isn't a transition year for us. This is go out and win championships this year."
Andrew Dakich, Ohio State graduate guard
On playing at Ohio State as a former University of Michigan player
"I am just happy to be playing at the highest level, playing against great guys day in and day out. This may not happen again moving forward."
On transferring to Ohio State from Michigan
"When (Michigan) lost to Ohio State last year it was a turning point. I remember how the Buckeyes played as a unit with energy and passion. I always admired that."
C.J. Jackson, Ohio State junior guard
On the adjustment to the high number of newcomers this season
"It's not really a huge adjustment because in the game of basketball you have new teammates every year. We do have a lot of new guys, which is kind of unusual because there are so many, but it's nothing too drastic because we are all here for one purpose and that is to win games. That is why everyone came here, because we felt like we could win games here."
On Coach Holtmann's offensive philosophy
"He is much more of a free-flowing coach. You have certain responsibilities and you gain your freedom through your play. He has given certain roles for certain players and we are just going to focus on what we do best."
Joey Lane, Ohio State junior guard
On transitioning to Coach Holtmann
"While we all did not love seeing Coach Matta leave, we have all completely bought in to everything Coach Holtmann and his staff have brought over. We are more excited than ever for this year to prove to anyone who is doubting us right now that we are the real deal, and that we are back."
Micah Potter, Ohio State sophomore center
On the difference in the atmosphere with Coach Holtmann
"I do feel a difference, and I think part of that is because it's new. A lot of the time you get complacent with what becomes normal, and making things different brings a new energy to everything."
On what his assessment of the team at this point of the season
"We are still just jelling at this point. Practice doesn't officially start until Saturday, and once we get there and we get to actually play, we will be able to figure out our strengths and weaknesses and go from there."
Jae'Sean Tate, Ohio State senior forward
On his mindset going into the year
"I have always had a positive mindset. To me, this is not only the start of the new Coach Holtmann era. For us, we're just going out there united. Being the guys Coach Matta brought us here to be, while at the same time being the players Coach Holtmann thinks we can be is very important to me. Every time I take the court I'm going to give 100 percent effort. My biggest goal is to leave here showing Buckeye Nation that all four years I gave it my all."
On the team's mindset entering the season
"We're taking a different approach to everything. We're just going to work. Every time we take the floor and every day in practice, my number on goal as a senior captain is to make sure we're putting in everything we can."
Andre Wesson, Ohio State sophomore forward
On the return of Keita Bates-Diop
"It is really important. He is such a good player, he can do so many different things and guard so many different positions. It will be really fun to see what he can do this season."
On how the offense will operate this season
"From what we've done you can really tell that it is going to be free flowing. We do transition drills and whoever gets to the ball on the rebound just goes and we make the most out of what we have."
On the opportunity to play with his younger brother Kaleb Wesson
"It's going to be really fun. It brings back a lot of good memories. The last time we were together, we won a state championship, and we are hoping to win another championship in this time together as well."
Kam Williams, Ohio State senior guard
On how he handles competing with teammates while being a mentor
"We just don't take it personally. If someone gets the best of me, or if I get the best of somebody else, I just take it with a grain of salt. We just work on what our weaknesses are. What I like to tell them is that hard work is the key. If you see something isn't working, you just have to get in the gym and work on it. That is the only way to get better, and that is what I have been harping on to them."
On having Keita Bates-Diop back this season
"He will be a special piece of this team and what we do this year. Just to see the improvement he has made from last year to now is exciting. I am eager to see what he does when the lights come on because what he has been doing here is nothing short of amazing and I can't wait for you guys to see it."
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