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Men’s Basketball: Ohio State lands 2019 five-star forward Alonzo Gaffney

Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann just made the biggest recruiting splash at Ohio State since 2014. And he’s been the head coach for less than a year.

Five-star power forward Alonzo Gaffney announced his commitment to Holtmann and the Buckeyes on Twitter Tuesday, becoming the highest-ranked recruit Ohio State has landed since current Brooklyn Nets guard D’Angelo Russell committed in the 2014 class.

Gaffney, a 6-foot-9, 190-pound power forward, is currently listed as the No. 18 recruit in the 2019 recruiting class, third best at his position and top recruit in the state of Ohio, according to 247Sports composite rankings.

The last five-star recruit Ohio State landed was Russell, who was the No. 16 recruit in the 2014 class. Ohio State has not brought in a five-star recruit from the state of Ohio since Jared Sullinger in the 2010 class.

Landing Gaffney is a major win for a coach who has made recruiting his priority since becoming Ohio State’s head coach in June. During his introductory press conference, Holtmann stressed the importance of bringing in a majority of the top prospects in the state of Ohio, saying he wanted to “close the borders and dominate the state.”

Last year, Ohio State brought in both the top two Ohio recruits in center Kaleb Wesson and forward Kyle Young. Wesson committed during previous coach Thad Matta’s tenure. Young decommitted from Butler and went to Ohio State soon after Holtmann was hired.

By putting together a surprising, turnaround campaign for Ohio State that resulted in a 25-9 overall record, the best record since the 2012-13 season, Holtmann made a strong case that he would be turning around the school’s men’s basketball program. Along the way, it became easy for the coach to sell his vision to incoming recruits, hosting players like Gaffney during home games to show what the team has accomplished under Holtmann.

In adding Gaffney, Holtmann is also starting to shape up what could be a strong 2019 roster. C.J. Walker, the former starting point guard at Florida State, announced Monday he will transfer to Ohio State and will be able to play his first season in scarlet and gray in the 2019-20 season. Holtmann should expect to still have both Young and Wesson, along with members of the current year’s recruiting class in four-stars Luther Muhammad and Jaedon LeDee and three-stars Duane Washington and Justin Ahrens.

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