Strong Recruiting Class Leads Sportsbooks To Respect Ohio State Hoops

Thanks to a talented cast of newcomers, Ohio State's men's basketball team is expected to contend in the Big Ten.

With five commits, including four 4-star recruits, Ohio State’s 2022 men’s basketball recruiting class is rated the sixth-best in the nation, according to 247sports.

The impressive incoming talent haul for the Buckeyes is also the highest-rated recruiting class in the Big Ten. Their arrival figures heavily in Ohio State receiving some early recognition among a list of projected contenders by mobile sportsbooks for the 2023 national championship. 

FanDuel has odds of +7000 on Ohio State — along with Southern Cal, Florida State, and Miami (Fla.) — winning the national championship, while DraftKings has odds of +8000 on the Buckeyes winning the national title, along with six others, including Big Ten foe Michigan State.

As for the favorites, FanDuel has odds of +950 on Houston claiming the championship. DraftKings offers odds of +1200 on perennial contenders Kentucky and North Carolina winning the title.

Four-star recruits Roddy Gayle Jr., Bruce Thornton, Felix Okpara, and Brice Sensabaugh are expected to come in and make an immediate impact for Chris Holtmann’s Buckeyes team.

Gone are last season’s leading scorers, 6-foot-7 junior forward E.J. Liddell (19.4 points per game) and 6-foot-5 freshman standout Malaki Branham (13.7 ppg). He opted to declare for the upcoming NBA Draft after helping lead Ohio State to a 20-12 season.

Four-star hoop haul

The Buckeyes’ top four recruits are all ranked on 247sports’ list of the nation’s Top 100 players. Gayle, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard, is ranked as the 40th best player in the nation.

Thornton, a 6-foot-1 point guard, is ranked as the 42nd best player in the country. Okpara, a 6-foot-11 post, ranks 56th, while Sensabaugh, a 6-foot-6 wing, ranks a couple spots behind Okpara at 58th.


Gayle Jr., of Mount Pleasant, Utah, had more than a dozen offers from colleges, including Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, and Louisville, before choosing to sign with Ohio State last November.

Okpara, of Branson, Missouri, signed with Ohio State in November after receiving a number of offers from the likes of Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi State. Thornton, of Alphatetta, Georgia, chose Ohio State over offers from Auburn, Alabama, and Clemson.

Sensabaugh, of Orlando, Florida, picked Ohio State over a list that included Alabama, Georgia Tech, and Cincinnati.

Bowen Hardman, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard, is considered a three-star recruit. It is the only Ohio native in the recruiting class. The Cincinnati product was also recruited by his hometown Bearcats and Xavier.

Transfer portal pickups

In addition to a stacked freshman group, Holtmann has added transfers in 6-foot-4 point guard Isaac Likekele (7.1 ppg at Oklahoma State), 6-foot-4 shooting guard Sean McNeil (12.2 ppg at West Virginia), and 6-foot-6 wing Tanner Holden (20.1 ppg at Wright State).

They’re joining a group of returning Buckeyes who are led by 6-foot-8 frontcourt player Zed Key and 6-foot-7 small forward Justice Sueing.

Key, the only returning starter from last season, averaged 7.8 points and 5.6 rebounds. Sueing, who missed all but two games last season due to injury, was productive for the Buckeyes two years ago. He averaged 10.7 points and 5.5 rebounds for Holtmann.

Seth Towns, Eugene Brown III, and Kalen Etzler will also have an opportunity to contribute for Holtmann. He will be in his sixth season leading the program.


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