November 20, 2018

Holtmann Inks Three Top 50 Recruits for 2019-20


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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Chris Holtmann, head coach of the Ohio State men’s basketball team, announced the signing of Alonzo Gaffney, E.J. Liddell and D.J. Carton to National Letters of Intent to play for the Buckeyes starting with the 2019-20 season.

“This is an outstanding day for Buckeye Basketball and Buckeye Nation,” Holtmann said. “Our staff did a tremendous job working tirelessly to recruit these young men and our current players were terrific as well in welcoming them to our basketball family. D.J., E.J. and Alonzo will join our current players in representing The Ohio State University at a high level. All three are gifted players, highly competitive and they value winning and want to be a part of continuing to build a winning program. They have been very well coached and that will no doubt serve them well as they transition. Please join me in welcoming Alonzo, E.J. and D.J.!”

Gaffney is a 6-foot-9-inch, 190-pound forward from Cleveland, Ohio. He is currently playing his senior season of high school at the Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, New Hampshire) after playing previously at Garfield Heights near Cleveland, Ohio.

“We are very excited about Alonzo,” Holtmann said. “He is someone we targeted as soon as we were hired. He has come from great programs in Ohio as well as his current program, Brewster Academy. He was the first player to commit to us for the 2019 class last spring. Alonzo has athleticism, skill and tremendous measurables. He has a very bright future. We look forward to developing him and we know Buckeye Nation will enjoy watching him play next fall. We are excited to officially welcome Alonzo and his family to the Ohio State Basketball family.”

In his junior year at Garfield Heights, Gaffney averaged 18.2 points, 9.0 rebounds and 4.0 blocks. He was a 2018 First Team All-Ohio selection and is rated the No. 29 player nationally by ESPN. As a sophomore, he helped his team win the 2017 Division III Ohio State Championship while at Villa Angela-St. Joseph High School. Gaffney is the No. 1 rated Ohio player according to ESPN and was named by Naismith as the one of the Top 50 high school players to watch this season.

All three recruits are among the Naismith Top 50 high school players to watch list, tied for the most nationally. The trio were invited to The National Basketball Players Association Top 100 Camp last summer.

Liddell is a 6-foot-7-inch, 220-pound forward from Belleville, Illinois. He plays for Belleville West High School, the 2018 Illinois State Champions for the first time in school history.

“E.J. is a tremendous addition to our University and basketball program,” Holtmann said. “He has the versatility, skill and toughness that is so important in today’s game. He and his team at Belleville West won a state championship and in recruiting him we came to realize how important winning is to him. E.J.’s talent and competiveness will serve him well as he competes at the highest level of college basketball as a Buckeye. We are excited to welcome E.J. and his family to our Ohio State Basketball family.”

After averaging 20.8 points and 8.2 rebounds as a junior, he was named Illinois Mr. Basketball. He was just the second junior in Illinois history to earn Mr. Basketball honors (Jabari Parker).

Liddell is the No. 1 rated player from Illinois, the No. 44 overall player and No. 10 power forward nationally, according to ESPN.

Carton is a 6-foot-1-inch, 190-pound guard from Bettendorf, Iowa, and Bettendorf High School. A first team all-state and all-conference honoree as a junior, he averaged a school-record 26.3 points per game a season ago to go along with 5.7 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

“D.J. is a talented and gifted player and a great addition to our University and basketball program,” Holtmann said. “He possesses athleticism, tremendous feel for the game and high level competiveness. We appreciate the edge he plays with. His development and growth as a player has been outstanding in the last couple years and we believe his best days are ahead of him. He really connected well with his future teammates on his visit and I know that was important to him and us. We are excited to welcome D.J. and his family to our Ohio State Basketball family.”

A Gatorade Player of the Year finalist last season, he is the No. 2-rated point guard nationally. ESPN ranks him the No. 24 player in the country and the No. 1 player in Iowa.