Jae’Sean Tate is fully available for Saturday’s game against William & Mary after a slight injury scare late in Monday’s home win against Michigan, coach Chris Holtmann said today.
"He’s fine," Holtmann said Friday morning. "Obviously we’re in a situation right now where we can’t really have another injury, so we’ve got about a nine-man rotation right now. If you limit that much more, it’s pretty dangerous for our team. At that point we’d probably look at potentially adding a walk-on or two to the rotation so as of now, he’s healthy."
The play in question happened late in the second half. With the Wolverines leading 58-56, Tate went for a loose ball along the sideline and slipped on a wet spot on the court. He fell awkwardly to the ground and needed a moment to get back up before limping back to the bench.
He remained in the game, a 71-62 win, and finished with 14 points and four rebounds in a season-high 37 minutes. Immediately, Holtmann said he expected Tate to be fine but didn’t say he was fine, and the senior was not brought out for postgame interviews.
Tate passed John Havlicek on Ohio State’s career scoring list in the win and sits 35th, one point behind Larry Siegfried and 13 behind current radio analyst Ron Stokes.
As I wrote about Thursday, Holtmann shared a gym with the NBA’s most famous player, LeBron James, on Tuesday night. On hand to watch Garfield Heights, Ohio, host Cleveland Shaw in a regular-season game, Holtmann was recruiting junior Alonzo Gaffney and freshman Meechie Johnson when James and two of his Cavaliers teammates showed up.
Today, Holtmann said it was the first time the two had met.
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"Yeah, I did (speak with him)," Holtmann said. "I had not met him. I went over and shook his hand and introduced myself. That was pretty quick. It was, he was in an area where I didn’t want to spend (too much time). He was there with his family and his teammates, but it was great to meet him. Obviously I have tremendous respect for him.
"I’ve always really, really admired him as a player and really, really admired how he has conducted himself as a young guy in the spotlight at a really early age. His maturity level, it’s amazing. I’ve got close friends in the NBA and when they talk about him, they talk about his ability to see things on the defensive end well before they happen and how impressive that is for them when they’re coaching against him and his ability to call out actions and see things way before they happen. I’ve got tremendous respect. It was great to meet him."
In addition to the stop at Garfield Heights, Holtmann and assistant coach Ryan Pedon made a stop in Butler, Pennsylvania, to check on four-star guard prospect Ethan Morton. A member of the class of 2020, Morton has a scholarship offer from the Buckeyes.
Junior C.J. Jackson has come off the bench for the last two games for the Buckeyes as Tate has taken over the starting point guard responsibilities. Jackson said the two prepare for upcoming opponents together. Prior to this season, Tate had never played the point at the collegiate level.
"We talk about it all the time," Jackson said. "He comes to me before the game, especially the last two games just to help him with my issue was, just make the simple plays and you don’t have to make the home run plays. Things like that. We watch film together. Anything we can to prepare and get ready for the next game, we do together."