Seth Towns is coming home, announcing that he will transfer to the Ohio State Buckeyes and not only still has two years of eligibility remaining, but is immediately eligible, giving the scarlet and gray quite a boost on the wing and frontcourt for the 2020-21 season.
“Ohio State is home,” he said during his announcement on SportsCenter Saturday night. “Home is where the heart is. I’m incredibly excited to play at home. My parents are the two biggest Buckeye fans ever. Having the opportunity to play for the school I’ve dreamed about playing for since I was a kid gives me a ton of pride.”
Towns grew up a stone’s throw away from the Ohio State University. A 9.3-mile drive, to be exact. While showcasing his talents on the hardwood during his time at Northland high school, the 6-foot-7, 205-pound forward received plenty of offers. Of the 11, one was the Ohio State Buckeyes. Even though he grew up near campus, many had the Towns — who was the 25th-ranked small forward (No. 129 overall prospect in the country and No. 9 prospect from Ohio) in the recruiting class of 2016 — going to Michigan, with Buckeyes and Butler also receiving some predictions as well. Yet, he shocked everyone and committed to Harvard, to not only receive an outstanding education from a prestigious academic university but to be able to continue to play the sport he loves as well.
A Columbus native, the forward returns home for his final two years of eligibility, giving the Buckeyes a veteran forward that knows how to score and a proven playmaker at the highest level of college basketball. Although he committed elsewhere when he was in high school, Towns and Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann are very familiar with one another, as Holtmann recruited Towns in high school.
“My relationship with coach Holtmann really set them apart from a lot of schools,” Towns said. “Not only did he recruit me for this go-round but throughout high school, he recruited me at Butler.”
He’s already proven that he can score the basketball, along with rebound as well. During his freshman season at Harvard, Towns averaged 12.3 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, and one steal while shooting 42.8% from the field and 38.8% from three-point range in 24.6 minutes per game. Those numbers improved his sophomore season when he averaged 16 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists while shooting 41.9% from the field and 44.1% from beyond the arc in 27.9 minutes a night, stats that earned him the Ivy League Player of the Year. Unfortunately, he has missed each of the last two seasons (2018-19 and the shortened 2019-20 season) due to a knee injury, hence the reason he is a graduate transfer that can play immediately and still has two years of eligibility remaining.
Given that he hasn’t played in two years, there are plenty of questions surrounding his game. That said, if he can return to form for his hometown team, Towns has a chance to be quite a difference-maker for Ohio State. While being away from the game for two years is quite concerning, Buckeye Nation should trust that Holtmann and crew have done the work behind the scenes to make sure Towns is not only good to go but has found the type of game he played prior to his knee injury.
Zach Fleer and the 270Hoops’ team put together an outstanding highlight video of Towns’ time at Harvard, one that showcases just how good he is.1
With Towns now in the fold, the Buckeyes have quite a solid group of wings and forwards on the roster for the 2020-21 season. Kyle Young, Justin Ahrens, and E.J. Liddell will be the most experienced of the group, but Justice Sueing (transfer from Cal) along with incoming freshman Zed Key (33rd-ranked power forward, No. 154 overall prospect in the 2021 recruiting class) also add some depth at wing and forward as well. The problem is that 6-foot-10 center Ibrahima Diallo, who will be a sophomore next season, is still a very raw basketball player, which means that Ohio State’s lineup will likely feature a player that is 6-foot-8 or shorter much of the time. There’s not a glaring problem with the small-ball lineup, especially at the college level, but just something to keep in mind.
Also, in terms of the roster, given that Andre Wesson was the only senior this past season paired with the fact that the Buckeyes are bringing in Towns, Key, and incoming freshman Eugene Brown (No. 22 shooting guard, 113th-ranked overall prospect), Ohio State is still one scholarship over the limit in 2020-21. That’s even after freshman DJ Carton — who had been away from the team since January 30 to improve his mental health — announced that he will transfer from the program after just one season in Columbus. After Kaleb Wesson tested the NBA Draft waters in 2019, it’s expected that the junior will forego his final year of eligibility and enter the 2020 NBA Draft even if workouts and the draft combine do not happen due to the coronavirus.
The Buckeyes were getting hot and finding their groove once again on the hardwood, just in time for the most important part of the season: The Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament. The coronavirus had other plans, though, and the college basketball season came to an end even before March Madness had the chance to tip-off. With the offseason, therefore, starting earlier than expected, it seems as though Ohio State has found one of its final pieces for the 2020-21 team, with the addition of Towns, who picked the scarlet and gray over Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Syracuse, and Virginia.
With the addition of Towns, Ohio State has a ton of talent on the roster even if they are a bit small. The Buckeyes should compete for not only a Big Ten title in 2021, but have bigger aspirations and dreams in the NCAA Tournament as well. The future continues to look bright for Holtmann and the Ohio State Buckeyes going forward, Towns is just another piece to the puzzle, one that brings plenty of experience, athleticism, and scoring to the scarlet and gray.
Towns not only brings all of that to the scarlet and gray, but outside of basketball, he will now have a degree from Harvard and soon-to-be one from Ohio State as well. Not bad.