As the basketball offseason continues and we move into the fall, Land-Grant Holy Land will be putting out basketball player and team previews. There will be two previews per week leading all the way into the start of the season, starting with player previews.
Last time, we looked at incoming transfer and sharpshooter, Sean McNeil. This time around, we are taking a look at the first transfer to commit to the Buckeyes this offseason, Wright State’s Tanner Holden.
Name: Tanner Holden
Weight: 200 pounds
Highschool: Wheelersburg High School (Wright State University)
2021-22 stats: 20.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, 49.7 FG%, 34.1 3FG%, 78.9 FT%
Holden was not in the transfer portal long before he committed to the Buckeyes, taking a visit immediately and committing just one week into his time in the portal.
“I took a week after our season ended to talk to my family and everybody around me about what I should do and what they thought about it,” Holden told Bucknuts. “We put it in God’s hands. That led me to put my name in there to explore and see the options out there.
“I’m a homebody in general,” Holden added. “I like being where people from my hometown and family and girlfriend can come and watch the games and hang out with me. That was a big part of it.
And with him being from Ohio, the appeal of leaving Ohio State with an education played a large factor as well.
“Graduating from The Ohio State University and getting a degree from here means so much as an Ohio kid,” Holden said. “There was a lot to tie into this place and why I thing here. It’s definitely a great decision. I’m so glad I made the decision to come here. It’s been great so far. I can’t wait until everything officially starts.”
Chris Holtmann told reporters when Holden committed that he views Holden as a polished player with still some room to grow.
“I think his perimeter skills are good,” Holtmann said. “I think he is going to be more of a high volume 3-point shooter here than maybe what he was. That’s an aspect of his game he will have to continue to grow.
“He is an effective, good player,” Holtmann added. “He is versatile in a lot of ways. Obviously being an Ohio kid, we loved that. I’m really excited about Tanner. I think he is really going to help our team.”
Holden came to Wright State and immediately made an impact, starting in 31 of his 32 games played. He scored the ball well his first two seasons, averaging 11.8 and 15.8 points per game his first and second season, respectively. However, during his third season, he broke out in a big way, averaging 20.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game. He also scored 37 points and 11 rebounds in Wright State’s First Four NCAA Tournament game.
“We lost a big part of our scoring (last year),” Holden told Bucknuts. “The coaches told me I needed to be more aggressive and score a little bit. My confidence kind of rose after that. Because I played with so many great players, I was ready for that moment and take on that role. The team this past year, we did a great job of sharing the ball. We were a high-scoring team. I felt I took the right shots. I think that was a big thing.”
Holden gets to the free throw line more than almost anyone in the country.
“I got to the free throw line a lot,” Holden said. “I slowly improved my free throw shooting exponentially from my freshman to junior year. Getting to the line was a good place for me to be. I tried to shoot at least six to eight a game. The coaching staff put me in great positions to be successful and the rest of the players helped me out a lot.”
Holden’s production and minutes will likely be affected by Justice Sueing. Sueing and Holden are similar players that play the same position, and if Sueing is in fact 100 percent healthy, it could hurt Holden’s time on the court. However, if Sueing is dealing with any lingering injuries, Holden is a guy who can come in and play 30 minutes or more for the Buckeyes and fill a similar role to Sueing.
Holden is used to playing heavy minutes, playing in 92 games over three seasons at Wright State and starting in 91 of them. He will not be in a new position if he does have to play a lot in Columbus.
Holden is going to be a key player on this team, no matter what happens this season with Sueing. He is versatile, can play and guard multiple positions, including point guard, and can help take some of the burden off of freshman Bruce Thornton.
Holden will play 25 minutes a game or more, maybe starting and maybe coming off the bench. Because of his versatility and his ability to guard multiple positions, Holden is arguably one of the most important transfers in the conference.