Ohio State Basketball: Buckeye Coaches Address College Basketball's Culture Problem

When three players transferred out of the program immediately after the 2015-16 season there were concerns about the culture within the Ohio State basketball team. The coaching staff has acknowledged that there is a culture program, but it's not specific to Ohio State.

Ohio State staff admitted that the root cause of four players transferring out of the program during and after the 2015-16 season was a culture problem. But it wasn’t one specific to the Buckeyes program, but rather one pervasive in college basketball.

"Coach Matta was immune from guys leaving Ohio State (for a long time)," Ohio State assistant coach Dave Dickerson said, "But I don’t think any program in the country is immune from what happened this past offseason for us. 

"We have to do a better job as coaches, we have to do a better job as recruiters, there’s no doubt about that. But the world of college basketball is changed radically to where what happened with kids now, and this is not our fault, if kids don’t here or get what they want there’s another option."

Regardless of whether there were serious internal issues prompting Ohio State's departures, transfers have become an epidemic in college basketball in recent seasons. It's just another part of college basketball at this point.

According to ESPN's transfer tracker the number of transfers across all levels of college basketball have more-than tripled during the nine years they have been tracking them.

To Dickerson's point Ohio State has rarely had to deal with transfers over Matta's tenure. Prior to this season the Buckeyes saw just five players transfer out of the program in the head coach's 12 seasons in Columbus. Furthermore, the Buckeyes have benefited from some transfers, including last year's starting center Trevor Thompson.

Still, the total number of transfers in the Matta era nearly doubled this year as Austin Grandstaff, Daniel Giddens, A.J. Harris and Mickey Mitchell all left the program.

The head coach agreed with Dickerson's sentiment that the departures were part of a culture problem, but one that extends far beyond Ohio State and is pervasive in college basketball.

“I think that the landscape of college basketball has undoubtedly changed. Talking to other coaches and we’ve all got the exact same problems, we just wear different colored uniforms," Matta said in April. "I think from that perspective, it’s one of those situations where it sort of is what it is in terms of instant gratification and those types of things. Some guys maybe aren’t as patient and see the big picture, but that’s part of it. I think the new millennial, whatever they’re called, all these young guys out here upon getting their degree they want a corner office. I think that’s something that’s probably the hardest part just in society right now. With that said, it is what it is and you deal with it and move forward.”

The Buckeyes are moving forward with the players who want to be part of the Ohio State program, and by all accounts that's just fine with the staff.


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