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Ohio State 2016-17 Preview: the Backcourt

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

In the weeks leading up to the 2016-’17 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing its preview series breaking down each Big Ten team. These will come in a set of series previewing the overall team, the team’s backcourt, wings, and big men, and the team’s schedule. Each post will take a look at its top in-depth and give predictions on the upcoming season.

Today’s edition of the ‘BTPowerhouse Preview Series’ will focus on the backcourt for Ohio State.

'BTPowerhouse Preview' - Ohio State Backcourt:

  • 2015-’16 All-Big Ten Qualifiers: None
  • Key Departures: Austin Grandstaff and A.J. Harris
  • Additions: C.J. Jackson and Jimmy Jent
  • Top Player: JaQuan Lyle

After the loss of a few players in their backcourt, Thad Matta and his Ohio State buckeyes look to step up the production in the backcourt after a steady 2015-2016 season.

Starting Rotation

The Ohio State Buckeyes return their 6’5” shooting guard Jaquan Lyle for the 2016-’17 season. Lyle had a fairly large role on Thad Matta’s team last season as he averaged 29.7 minutes, but Buckeye fans can expect to see that number swell. He took nearly 10 shots a game while shooting an impressive 39.7%; for a freshman a huge positive. Lyle can really contribute to this team by driving and either looking for his shot or kicking to an open teammate as he averaged 4.2 assists per game. As the season progresses Matta will have to rely on the sophomore to take shots at important times in the game.

Joining Jaquan Lyle in the backcourt for tipoff will be the junior guard Kam Williams. He is a very talented player returning this season for the Buckeyes after a stellar shooting season as a sophomore with 44% from both the floor and three point. Williams is a thin 6’2”, 175 pounds and shot at a 85% clip from the free throw line, though he only averaged less than one attempt per game. As the young guard will need to get to the line more, he also will need to find his teammates in position to score more as he only averaged 0.8 assists per game. Kam Williams has to be a vital cog in this Ohio State machine through his ability to shoot the rock.

Bench Rotation

A pure score is what transfer guard from Eastern Florida State C.J. Jackson could be summed up as. Standing at 6’1”, Jackson averaged nearly 17 points in the 32 games which ranked 6th in the NJCAA rankings and his total points scored, 542, was first in his conference. What Jackson will provide this thin rotation is someone not afraid to shoot and knock down shots as he nailed home 45% of both his jumpers and three pointers. An athletic shooter who isn’t afraid to grab some rebounds is what any coach would want on his team, and Thad Matta has that mold of a player in C.J. Jackson coming off the bench.

The rest of the Ohio State backup rotation is split between two virtual unknowns in Jimmy Jent and Joey Lane, both of which played very minimal roles last season. Jent, who is a 6’4” sophomore, only played twelve total minutes for the Wofford Terriers and never put the basketball through the hoop. As for Lane, the sophomore totaled eleven minutes under Matta with a total of four points on his season. Both of these players are question marks to say the least and if called upon could be a disaster.

Overall

This team is very thin, but at least it is top heavy. Jaquan Lyle and Kam Williams are a dynamic duo that will pair quite well together against the heavy schedule in the Big Ten. Once those two step off the court and the back-ups are in, the entire dynamic of the game could change so staggering minutes will be key.