Ohio State men's basketball will scrimmage Xavier on Saturday, and in advance of that event (which is closed to the media and public), the Buckeyes made assistant coaches Mike Schrage, Terry Johnson, and Ryan Pedon available to reporters.
Here are the highlights of what they said:
- On Kaleb Wesson: "He's in a great place right now."
- Asked if they could shoot better from 3-point range this year, Schrage answered: "I think coach has talked well about Kaleb Wesson, and we're going to let him shoot more threes, and he's shooting them at a really high level. Micah Potter can shoot threes. You know, it's unique when you've got five men--I mean, look at Michigan last year with [Moe] Wagner. That was such a tough [defensive assignment]. Is he rolling? Is he popping? Like, we've got some bigs now certainly who are going to roll plenty, but can pop, and you've got to account for them out there, too. But collectively I think we could be a better shooting team. We probably need to be, to be honest, to score enough points."
- "I think you're happy this time of the year if you're healthy. No team is ever 100 percent when you're hitting hard in practice, and you're getting after it, but we're close to being healthy. And we have great guys in our program. We have our kind of guys."
- Why the staff viewed graduate transfer Keyshawn Woods as such a good fit: "Character, character, character first...When you bring a fifth-year transfer, it's a shotgun wedding, and that guy's got to fit. We knew that about Keyshawn Woods. Then we needed guard depth. And he scored double-digits in the ACC, so he could potentially do that in the Big Ten. We could use some scoring."
- Like Schrage, Johnson thinks it is likely that all five players on the court this year will be shooting from behind the arc. "Hopefully that helps out in recruiting when they know coach lets bigs shoot threes." And Kaleb Wesson is definitely one of those bigs. "I think he's going to surprise some people by stretching out his range a little bit."
- Which young player is stepping up from a leadership standpoint? "Probably Luther Muhammad. He's just been pretty steady. Hasn't been too high; hasn't been too low, and that's good to see...He's always talking. I'm surprised you can't hear him right now in the weight room, but that's a good thing. We want guys who can talk all the time. Our young guys? They run their mouths a little bit too much sometimes, but it's okay. It's okay." (It should be noted, he was smiling for the last part.)
- He has a three-year tradition of cataloging all the disrespect directed at his team. "Personally I watch that a lot, and I have a wall in my office that is dedicated to that, that is very important to me. I take meticulous care of this wall. The tape is perfectly placed on there. I've highlighted. I like to go back and update the highlights every now and again just to keep it bright for where we're being picked. I like our players when they're in my office, or they swing by the office to be able to see that kind of stuff. We don't talk about it a whole lot, but I know it gives me an edge every day I walk in, and it gives me sort of that chip on my shoulder. It's just another source of motivation."
- "We're going to have to play a little bit differently than we did last year. Our three-point attempt rate last year was very low in the conference. We were a two-point heavy team. I don't know if I see that as much this year. We always like to play inside-out. We like to share the ball. We like to play with pace and space. But in terms of how we get to our scoring? I think it'll look a lot different this year, and that's okay."
- "Some of our older guys need to transition from being guys that were blenders and guys that fit in, to now being guys that are able to dictate the mood. I work with CJ Jackson, and one of things that I say to him constantly is, 'Set the temperature in the room, man.' The fact of the matter is, we need his voice."