Earlier this week, the Ohio State Buckeyes got some significant news as freshman guard Malaki Branham declared for the 2022 NBA Draft. This wasn’t a particularly surprising announcement based on Branham’s progress toward the end of the season.
Big Ten Freshman of the Year Malaki Branham has officially entered his name into the 2022 NBA Draft after a fantastic first year in Columbus. He has the option to return if he does so before June 1.— Land-Grant Holy Land (@Landgrant33) April 1, 2022
Good luck to Malaki on whichever path he chooses! https://t.co/NPGdQDVpIi
During his sole season in Columbus, Branham put together an impressive campaign. He earned Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors and averaged 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. He closed the season by scoring double-digits in Ohio State’s final 11 games, including 23 points in the team’s loss to Villanova to end the year.
While we don’t yet know if Branham will stay in the Draft, there isn’t much denying his exit would be a significant one for the Buckeyes. He was one of the brightest spots on the team last season and it’s hard to see Ohio State overcoming the departure of Branham and EJ Liddell in a single offseason. Chris Holtmann has done a great job so far in Columbus. That’s just asking a lot.
We’ll have to wait and see how things shake out over the next few months. Some publications are projecting Branham as as a First Round pick. If that holds, expect him to take his talents to the next level. Buckeye fans will certainly wish him the best of luck at the next level.