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Countdown to tipoff: Ohio State men’s basketball season preview

Meet the new faces and familiarize yourselves with returning talent on Team 125 ahead of the 2023-2024 season.


Team 125 celebrating during a shooting competition at an open practice earlier this month. | Photo by CBUStoday

Table of Contents

The Ohio State men’s basketball season tips off on Monday, Nov. 6 against Oakland at the Schottenstein Center. Before the season begins, we’re here to help you get to know Team 125.

Familiar faces

  • Bruce Thornton | Sophomore | Thornton emerged as a leader during his freshman season. He was named a team captain, averaged 10.6 points per game, had a team-high 29 total steals, and was the only player to start all 35 games.
  • Roddy Gayle Jr. | Sophomore | In his first year with OSU, Gayle Jr. showed his defensive skills with 21 total steals, 12 total blocks, and an impressive Big Ten Tournament run complete with nine three-pointers.
  • Zed Key | Senior | Prior to Key’s shoulder injury and season-ending surgery, he averaged 13.4 points and 8.4 rebounds. He is the oldest returner.
  • Felix Okpara | Sophomore | The 6'11" center played in every game last season and finished as one of the best rim defenders in the Big Ten with 44 total blocks.
  • Head coach Chris Holtmann returns for his seventh season.

Okpara put on nearly 30 pounds in the offseason. | Photo by CBUStoday

Get to know some newcomers

  • Jamison Battle | Fifth year | Battle played his past two seasons at Minnesota and was recently named to the Julius Erving Top 20 Watch List.
  • Dale Bonner | Fifth year | The Shaker Heights-native played his last two seasons at Baylor, where he had multiple six-plus steal games and appeared in four NCAA Tournament games.
  • Evan Mahaffey | Sophomore | Originally from Cincinnati, Mahaffey played his freshman season at Penn State, where he appeared in 34 games and shot nearly 57% from the field.
  • Devin Royal | Freshman | Royal was named Ohio’s Mr. Basketball in 2023 and averaged 19.6 points as a Pickerington Central senior.
  • Scotty Middleton | Freshman | The five-star prospect joins the Buckeyes from Miami, FL, where he averaged 12 points in his senior season.
  • Taison Chatman | Freshman | Chatman was the No. 1 recruit out of Minnesota and won back-to-back state titles at Totino-Grace. He is currently recovering from a preseason procedure.
  • Austin Parks | Freshman | The 6'10" center was one of the best players to come through St. Mary’s High School. He broke 13 school records, including career points and career rebounds.

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