Ohio State freshman guard Jacy Sheldon shoots around during preseason drills. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State Athletics

Ohio native Jacy Sheldon will live her dream of playing basketball for the team she grew up rooting for on Sunday. 

Raised in Ohio as the daughter of a basketball coach, it’s no surprise the freshman guard knows the Buckeye culture well. Sheldon said it was an aspiration of hers to play in Columbus even before moving to Dublin, Ohio, her freshman year of high school. 

“The atmosphere grew even more because I was in Columbus,” Sheldon said. “I got to go to Ohio State games and be around Ohio State. I’ve always been a huge fan, but once I moved to Columbus, I really got to see what Ohio State University was all about.”

Sheldon was a standout at Dublin Coffman High School, setting records that include scoring 52 points in a single game and becoming the first person in program history to score 2,000 career points. 

Her high school basketball tenure allowed Sheldon to become familiar with future teammates in freshman guards Madison Greene, who attended Pickerington Central High School, and Kierstan Bell, who is from Canton, Ohio. 

“She’s always telling her little jokes,” Greene said. “She’s the type of person that when you see her, we want to do whatever she’s doing because she’s always one of the top people in practice.” 

It was that same personality and work ethic that Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said he and the staff took note of when recruiting Sheldon. He said she scores the ball in a variety of ways — especially from 3-point range — passes the ball well and makes other players better. 

“On the court, she’s incredibly fast and quick, and that really plays well into our style of play,” McGuff said.

Sheldon said that when deciding on a college, she had other offers, but Ohio State was always her favorite. 

“I always go back and compare those schools that I also liked to Ohio State,” Sheldon said. “Ohio State would always come out on top.”

McGuff said Sheldon talks to and helps teammates when they need it, and he said he expects her to have a big impact for the team. He added that she has done a great job preparing for the upcoming season with her teammates. 

“She’s got a very high level of talent,” McGuff said. “Once she continues to evolve and grow in our system, and we do things, I think she’s just going to get better and better.”

McGuff said that before practice, Sheldon is one of the first in the gym, shooting baskets. McGuff said Sheldon loves to be in the gym working on her game, taking everything seriously to be a special player for the Buckeyes. 

As one of seven freshmen, Sheldon said she likes sharing the experience of being new on the team. Sheldon said it took time to get used to balancing practice and schoolwork, but she has gotten used to the time management.

She has also adjusted on the court.

In an exhibition game against Urbana Sunday, Sheldon tied Bell with a team-high 25 points, leading the Buckeyes in minutes, steals, blocks and plus-minus –– all while not committing a single turnover.

“Once we get into the season, I’m really excited to see how our hard work pays off,” Sheldon said.

Longtime Buckeye fan Sheldon now gets the chance to be like the players she spent her childhood cheering for, stepping into the collegiate level and making a name for herself.