Coach Chris Holtmann continues to compile his staff for his first year at the helm of the Ohio State men’s basketball team, adding James “Scoonie” Penn on to take the role of director of player development, the university announced Tuesday.
Penn was a former Buckeye basketball player, becoming a letterwinner from 1999 and 2000 and being named a second team All-American in 2000 after transferring to Ohio State from Boston College.
“We are really excited about Scoonie being a part of our staff,” Holtmann said. “All of Buckeye Nation will know that he is one of the all-time great players and ambassadors of our program. His connection to past and present players is impressive and something I was looking for in this position. He is such an accomplished player and I know his passion for Ohio State basketball is as strong as ever.”
Inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013, Penn was named the Big Ten Player of the Year in the 1999 season and was twice placed on the first team All-Big Ten team. He demonstrated leadership even in his playing days, serving as team captain for both seasons. Under his guidance, the 1998-99 Ohio State team reached the Final Four, garnering Penn co-MVP for that season (he was also named co-MVP the following year).
Over his two-year career with the Buckeyes, he averaged 16.3 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, while tallying a total of 284 assists.
Penn was later drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the 57th overall pick in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft. He never played in the NBA, instead traveling overseas to play 11 seasons in Europe.
“I want to thank Coach Holtmann for giving me this opportunity,” Penn said. “I am very excited to be a part of the basketball staff at Ohio State. I’ve always felt like coaching was a calling of mine and there isn’t a better place to have a chance to learn than the university that I attended and care so much about. It’s going to be fun to learn from Coach Holtmann and the rest of the staff.”