In the months leading up to the 2015-16 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the 'BTPowerhouse 25,' which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today's edition will take a brief look at Jae'Sean Tate of the Ohio State Buckeyes, who came in at #15 in the rankings. Though there is a lot of moving part on Ohio State's roster heading into next season, perhaps the only proven starter on the team is Tate. As such, if the Buckeyes are going to remain competitive in the conference and on the national scene, it's hard to see it happening without Tate having a big year.
‘BTP 25'- #15 Jae'Sean Tate
- Eligibility: Sophomore
- Career Totals: 35 games, 771 minutes, 308 points, 175 rebounds, 12 assists
- 2014-15 Averages: 22.0 min, 8.8 pts, 5.0 rbs, 0.3 asts, 0.6 blks, 0.9 stls
- Positional Role: Small/Power Forward
Tate arrived in Columbus with a fair amount of hype. Though many were focused on some of the other additions like Keita Bates-Diop and D'Angelo Russell, Tate came in rated as a 5-star recruit, #28 overall, and the top player in the state of Ohio according to ESPN. Most thought Tate would have to fight for minutes and touches with so many talented and experienced players, but that he would ultimately make an impact early and often.
There's no debating that Tate's freshman season started a bit slow with him largely playing in the 10 to 20 minute range, but as Ohio State got into conference play, Tate started to see his minute totals increase. He started out around 20 and eventually got himself up into the 30 to 35 minute range later in Big Ten play and into the postseason. By season's end, Tate was getting legitimate starters minutes and earned himself a spot on the All-Big Ten Freshmen Team. It was undeniably a successful first year with the Buckeyes.
Undoubtedly, the strongest part of Tate's game was on the boards. For a player that sits at just 6'4', the numbers he put up last season were very impressive. His 5.0 rebounds per game don't look particularly impressive on their face, but when one considers that Tate was second on the team in rebounds per 40 minutes and led the Buckeyes in offensive rebounding rate of players who played at least 40% of the team's minutes, it looks a lot more impressive. In fact, Tate came in at seventh in the entire Big Ten in offensive rebounding rate. Tate also had a solid blocking rate and was quite efficient inside offensively, shooting 63.1% from 2PT range.
Areas for Improvement
Though Tate showed a lot of potential during his first season, there were also some major red flags to his game last season. To start, he was essentially non-existent from 3PT range. He only attempted 19 shots from outside the arc all year and only connected on 15.8% of those attempts. That may not be ultra concerning on its face, but for a player like Tate to reach the next level and his full potential, this has to be an area that sees progress.
More generally, Tate also has to improve his offensive production. His 3PT shooting certainly factors into that discussion, but Ohio State is losing a massive amount from last year's team and will need Tate to take a bigger role in the offense. Considering that he was usually the third or fourth option offensively when on the floor and that his long range shot does not appear to be any type of threat, this has to be a concern. The Buckeyes are going to need production and if Tate is going to step up, improving his general production offensively has to be the starting point.
The interesting thing about Tate's projection for next season is that much of it depends upon the impact of Ohio State's incoming recruiting class. With so many offseason losses, the Buckeyes will have to rely on their 2015 recruiting class to man some of the key positions. If these players can step in and contribute, Tate should be able to continue in his role from last season, expand it a bit with some personal improvement, and be somewhere in the All-Big Ten 2nd or 3rd team consideration. However, if these recruits don't produce early and often, it's not hard to see Tate being forced into taking far too big of a role in the offense and his improvement being washed out by too many possessions. Tate should have a good year, but a lot will depend upon his surrounding cast.
'BTPowerhouse 25' Rankings
- Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #25 - Kendrick Nunn (Illinois)
- #24 - Bryant McIntosh (Northwestern)
- #22 (tie) Rasheed Sulaimon (Maryland)
- #22 (tie) - Thomas Bryant (Indiana)
- #21 - Rapheal Davis (Purdue)
- #20 - Derrick Walton Jr. (Michigan)
- #19 - Caleb Swanigan (Purdue)
- #18 - Shavon Shields (Nebraska)
- #17 - Eron Harris (Michigan State)
- #16 - Zak Irvin (Michigan)
- #15 - Jae'Sean Tate (Ohio State)
- #14 - To be continued ...