COLUMBUS — Former Ohio State basketball standout Scoonie Penn is rejoining the program in an official capacity.
First-year Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann on Tuesday tabbed Penn, a former All-American point guard, as Ohio State’s new director of player development.
Penn was a key player in the Ohio State basketball revival in the late 1990s. After transferring from Boston College, Penn was the Big Ten player of the year in 1999 and helped Ohio State make a surprise run to the Final Four that season. It was eventually vacated because of NCAA violations.
“All of Buckeye Nation will know that he is one of the all-time great players and ambassadors of our program,” Holtmann said in a statement. “His connection to past and present players is impressive and something I was looking for in this position.”
In two seasons at Ohio State, Penn averaged 16.3 points. He was drafted by the Atltanta Hawks but spent his entire 11-year professional career playing in Europe.
Ohio State named Penn to its athletics hall of fame in 2013.
“I’ve always felt like coaching was a calling of mine, and there isn’t a better place to have a chance to learn than the university that I attended and care so much about,” Penn said in a statement. “It’s going to be fun to learn from coach Holtmann and the rest of the staff.”
NEW RECRUIT: The Buckeyes finally have some help in their 2018 class.
Four-star shooting guard Torrence Watson from St. Louis pledged to join the Buckeyes’ on Monday evening, becoming the only member of the class.
According to 247Sports.com’s composite recruiting rankings, Watson is the 100th-ranked player in his class and the 23rd-ranked shooting guard.
Watson’s commitment — in timing and skill — was a step forward for an Ohio State program that was in need of some good news for its future recruiting classes. Since Holtmann was hired, the only remaining commit from the previous staff, Ohio shooting guard Dane Goodwin, decommitted and since has chosen Notre Dame.
The top player in Ohio in the 2018 class, Cincinnati forward Darius Bazley — a former OSU commit — already picked Syracuse, and Akron forward Pete Nance chose Northwestern over Ohio State and Michigan.
The Buckeyes currently have nine scholarship players on the team for the 2017-18 season, and two are seniors. A program is permitted to sign 13 scholarship players.