Ohio State men's basketball power rankings: No. 9 Roddy Gayle
A year unlike any other is about to get underway at Ohio State.
One year after a roster bolstered by players enjoying the extra year of eligibility afforded to all who played though the COVID-19 pandemic topped out at 15 members, the 2022-23 Buckeyes will be a team facing unprecedented turnover. With coach Chris Holtmann entering his sixth season, a combination of early departures for the NBA, the exhaustion of collegiate eligibility and the allure of the transfer portal have all combined to create a roster featuring only two players who played in at least three games for Ohio State last season.
That’s not to say there aren’t familiar faces in Columbus. They are simply outnumbered by a five-man freshman class, ranked tops in the Big Ten, and a three-man transfer class that combines to comprise more than half the roster. Those new faces, combined with a few veterans, will attempt to outshoot their projected sixth-place finish in the preseason media poll and find a way to Ohio State’s first Sweet 16 since the 2012-13 season.
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Before the Buckeyes get the year underway with an exhibition against Chaminade on Nov. 1 and the season opener against Robert Morris on Nov. 6, The Dispatch will be producing its annual preseason individual power rankings list. These rankings are an educated guess at which players will have the most significant on-court impact during the course of the entire season and will feature each player on the roster.
The list continues today at No. 9 with first-year guard Roddy Gayle.
Eligibility: First year (three remaining)
Height/weight: 6 feet 4 / 205 pounds
Jersey number: 1
A product of Youngstown, New York, Gayle asked high school coach Matt Bradshaw to send his game film to Ohio State because he liked alumni D’Angelo Russell and Mike Conley Jr. That helped start a relationship that led to unofficial visits to Ohio State, Syracuse, Wake Forest and Rutgers during his sophomore season. That year, Gayle averaged 25.8 points, nine rebounds, three assists and 2.3 steals, one year after helping Lewiston Porter Senior set a single-season record for wins while capturing its first league title since 1985. He took in Ohio State’s March 1, 2020 home win against Michigan.
He earned a scholarship from Ohio State in the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic and committed to the program in December, 2020, but he would not remain at his high school for long. Unsure if New York would allow a high school season, Gayle decided to transfer west to Wasatch Academy in Mount Pleasant, Utah, where he would have to make a mid-year acclimation to a new school, time zone and altitude. He averaged roughly 10 points per game that year.
A team captain as a senior, Gayle battled a nagging groin injury as Wasatch competed in the inaugural season for the eight-team National Interscholastic Basketball Conference and led the team in scoring during 10 conference games at 15.6 points and added 5.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists while shooting 38.0% from the floor and 24.0% from 3-point range. He underwent a minor procedure during the offseason that delayed his start at Ohio State, but has been full-go since early summer and was a full participant during the team’s two-game exhibition trip to the Bahamas, where he scored 16 points, shot 5 of 9 from the floor (and 2 for 4 from 3-point range) and threw down one of the most impressive dunks in either game.
The 247Sports.com composite database ranked Gayle as a four-star prospect, the No. 46 national player, the No. 2 shooting guard and No. 2 player from Utah in the 2022 class.
Xavier, Alabama, UConn, Georgetown, Rutgers, Oregon, Louisville and others had offered Gayle scholarships, but he picked the Buckeyes from a list of six finalists that also included Marquette, Syracuse, Pitt, Georgetown and UConn. Gayle has signed with Jay-Z’s Roc Nation agency but, as of this summer, had not yet met Jay-Z. He also has signed with The O Foundation, a collective started by Ohio State alumnus Ron Stokes that is primarily geared toward the men’s basketball program. Gayle has a 40-inch vertical. Associate head coach Jake Diebler was his primary recruiter. Once his senior season ended, Gayle transferred back home so that he could graduate with his friends at Lewiston Porter.
With his size, skill set and work ethic, Gayle could be the most NBA-ready player on Ohio State’s roster this season. He’s long, he’s strong and he will grow into a consistent scorer on an Ohio State team that enters the season with so many questions.
Despite the injury during his senior season, Gayle showed some defensive tenacity that should serve him well at Ohio State. In a pair of games against Bel Aire (Kansas) Sunrise Christian Academy, Gayle channeled his efforts into stopping five-star Kansas commit Gradey Dick. He would average 17.5 points per game in NIBC play, shooting 41.6% from 3 and 46.1% from the floor, but in his two games against the Tigers Dick shot 26.3% (5 for 19) from 3, 32.6% overall and scored 16 and 17 points, respectively.
He could spend time at either guard position or on the wing, and his proven scoring ability, physical frame and defensive capabilities have Gayle in position to earn a significant role this season and become the player most likely to well outperform his preseason power ranking.
“I think he has as much upside and potential as anyone in that (five)-man class,” coach Chris Holtmann said at Big Ten media day. “He also has glimpses in practice where you look at him and with continued growth, he’s not there yet, but he’ll play the 2, the other wing spot some, could slide to the point some but he’s gonna provide us a versatile defender and he’s a really good athlete at 6-4, 205.”
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