Kentucky transfer center Aaron Bradshaw joining Buckeyes

IMG_7408by:Andy Backstrom04/15/24


COLUMBUS — Ohio State just got deeper at the five. Kentucky transfer center Aaron Bradshaw committed to the Buckeyes Monday.

The 7-foot-1, 226-pound Bradshaw averaged 4.9 points, 3.3. rebounds and 0.7 blocks in 13.8 minutes per game while shooting 57.6% from the field for the Wildcats as a freshman in 2023-24.

The Rahway, New Jersey, native clocked out as the On3 Industry Ranking’s No. 4 overall prospect, and No. 1 center, in the 2023 recruiting class. His senior year at Camden High School, he averaged 12.1 points and 9.4 rebounds per game. He put up similar stats for NJ Scholars on the EYBL circuit.

It seems like Joel Justus’ Kentucky connections are already paying off. The new Ohio State associate head coach, who came from North Carolina State but spent seven seasons with the Wildcats — including five as an assistant (2016-21) — celebrated Bradshaw’s commitment Monday with his first “O-H” post on X.

Bradshaw played in 26 games for Kentucky this past season, making 10 starts along the way. He scored in double figures seven times and recorded one double-double.

He led the Wildcats in rebounding five times, steals on three separate occasions and blocks in three games. Bradshaw missed the early part of the season while recovering from an offseason foot injury and made his college debut on Dec. 2 against UNC Wilmington. That game, Bradshaw threw down a dunk while also notching two rebounds and a block.

His most memorable performance of the season might have come at Florida on Jan. 6. Bradshaw played a major role in the Wildcats’ comeback win, scoring 10 second-half points and earning SEC Freshman of the Week honors. He authored a critical sequence in the final two minutes, pairing a block on one end with a 3-pointer on the other. That triple — he was 4-of-14 from beyond the arc as a freshman — gave Kentucky a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.

Before that, Bradshaw made his first career start in the CBS Sports Classic against North Carolina on Dec. 16. The Wildcats beat the then-No. 9 Tar Heels, 87-83, and Bradshaw logged 12 points. With less than five minutes to go, he grabbed an offensive board and sunk a putback layup to help Kentucky get back into the driver’s seat. Then he ultimately hit the game-clinching free throws.

Bradshaw’s role notably declined down the stretch of the season, however. He played double-digit minutes only twice in his final 10 games. And he combined for just six minutes in Kentucky’s one-and-done SEC Tournament and NCAA Tournament appearances.

Bradshaw will join Ohio State for Jake Diebler’s first full season as head coach, and he’ll join soon-to-be junior Felix Okpara, who ranked second in the Big Ten in blocks per game (2.3) this past season. The 6-foot-11 Okpara averaged only 6.6 points per game, but he scored in double digits nine times, including in each of the Buckeyes’ three NIT games as he showcased his offensive improvement down the stretch of his sophomore campaign.

Plus, Ohio State appears to be returning Austin Parks, a 6-foot-10, 260-pound, in-state big man out of St. Marys Memorial. Parks didn’t play much during his freshman season but provided a critical bucket in the Buckeyes’ upset win over Purdue on Feb. 18.

Bradshaw is Ohio State’s second transfer addition this offseason. Diebler and Co. also pulled in Meechie Johnson, who starred at South Carolina the last two seasons after spending the first two seasons of his career with the Buckeyes. The Cleveland native was a top-two scorer for the Gamecocks both his years in Columbia. This season, Johnson averaged a team-best 14.1 points per game, not to mention 4.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while helping South Carolina back to the NCAA Tournament.

Johnson will be back at Ohio State for his final year of eligibility, and he’ll be accompanied by fellow transfer Aaron Bradshaw, who still has three years of eligibility remaining.

You may also like