2019 Class Now Has A DJ

By Jeff Rapp, July 16th, 2018

As the Ohio State basketball program moves into the second year of the Chris Holtmann era, the player expected to lead the way in the backcourt is C.J. Jackson.

A former transfer, Jackson had a breakout campaign under Holtmann in 2017-18 as the Buckeyes surprised the college basketball world with a second-place finish in the Big Ten and a punched ticket for the NCAA Tournament.

Holtmann needs a big senior year out of his point guard and mitigated the loss that will be felt when Jackson leaves after this season by bringing in another transfer named C.J. – C.J. Walker – who came in from Florida State and will be eligible beginning in 2019.

Now Holtmann has gone up a peg – and a letter, as it turns out – by nailing down a commitment from D.J. Carton, who projects to be OSU’s point guard of the future.

A five-star prospect from Bettendorft, Iowa, the 6-1, 189-pound Carton is rated as the No. 21 overall prospect in the 2019 class, making him the highest-rated player to agree to play for Holtmann at OSU. He called with the good news on Saturday and also made his decision public with an announcement on Twitter, which read as follows:

“First of all I would like to thank my family and my friends for the support they have given me throughout this process. Second I would like to thank all the coaches for taking time to recruit me and show interest in me. I want to thank coach Clark and coach Wynn for giving me the opportunity to play for them I would also like to thank coach Holtmann and the Coaching staff for giving me this opportunity!! I am proud to announce I will be continuing my education and basketball career at The Ohio State University!!”

The new OSU staff already has a commitment from five-star forward Alonzo Gaffney of Garfield Heights (Ohio) High School. A dynamic 6-9 performer, Gaffney is considered the top player in Ohio among 2019 recruits and is ranked No. 30 overall nationally.

To say Holtmann is off to a strong start to next year’s incoming class would be an understatement.

The guard spots appear to be in particularly good shape going forward. Along with Walker being eligible, Wake Forest graduate transfer Keyshawn Woods will have a lone year of eligibility in 2019-20 and off-guard Luther Muhammad presumably will be in his second season in scarlet and gray.

Other young players who could be approaching stardom soon are current sophomore center Kaleb Wesson and freshman power forward Jaedon LeDee.

Carton apparently couldn’t resist the idea of leading OSU’s multi-prong attack and chose the Buckeyes over Indiana and Michigan, the perceived leader. The young lefty is a complete package at the prep level with proven range, a developed handle, a willingness to distribute the ball and impressive athleticism.

The OSU coaches also believe he could be a high-end player defensively, which could be a team calling card in short order.

Carton also is a standout on the summer circuit for Quad City Elite, an Iowa-based team. He shone at the NBPA Top 100 Camp last month and currently is considered the second-best point guard in his class nationally according to the 247Sports Composite.

Despite adding a recent flood of ball handlers, Holtmann is expected to continue to chase more lead guard help in the 2020. Currently, OSU is considered to be directly in the hunt for a pair of Ohio stars in Dominiq Penn of nearby Dublin Coffman and Zeb Jackson of Maumee. Penn is the son of former OSU point guard and current staff member Scoonie Penn.