Scarlet Sunrise: Buckeyes center Felix Okpara announces return for 2024-25 season

On3 imageby:Andy Backstrom04/02/24

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Buckeyes center Felix Okpara announces return for 2024-25 season

Ohio State center Felix Okpara is running it back for the 2024-25 season, he announced on social media Monday. Okpara averaged 6.6 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game as a sophomore.

“I am excited and grateful to announce I am 100% committed to running it back with OSU and Buckeye Nation!” Okpara wrote in a statement. “Can’t wait to start a new chapter with Coach Diebs, my returning teammates and the new staff and players to get Ohio State back to our rightful spot at the top of the Big Ten.

“Thank you for the love and support from the fans and fellow students and a special thanks to The Foundation, my family and The Ohio State University family for being with me through this amazing journey.”

This season, Okpara ranked second in the Big Ten in blocks per game, he scored in double figures nine times and he piled up 10 or more rebounds five times. The big man from Lagos, Nigeria, put on 15 pounds ahead of the 2023-24 campaign and now stands 6-foot-11, 235 pounds.

After starting 11 games during his freshman year, including nine straight to end the season, he started every non-Senior Day game as a sophomore.

A superb rim protector, Okpara has flashed his shot blocking ability ever since he put on an Ohio State uniform. His offensive game is what really has started to blossom of late.

Okpara rounded out the season with three straight games of 10-plus points. He averaged 13.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game during the Buckeyes’ mini NIT run.

Okpara took a big step in Year 2. Another big step in Year 3 under new head coach Jake Diebler would make him one of the league’s more effective centers — on both ends of the floor.

Scotty Middleton entering transfer portal after one season at Ohio State

Although Ohio State got Okpara back, the Buckeyes saw another player enter the transfer portal Monday. Freshman wing Scotty Middleton announced that he’s going to both test the NBA Draft waters and hit the portal.

Middleton averaged 4.4 points per game this season but 6.3 points per game after Diebler took over as head coach. During that eight-game span, Middleton shot a blistering 65% from beyond the arc. In other words, he converted 13-of-20 3-pointers.

For more on Middleton, go here.

Buckeyes hire Oregon running backs coach Carlos Locklyn

Ohio State hired Oregon running backs coach Carlos Locklyn Monday. The Buckeyes weren’t in a rush to make a move, but they now have their replacement for Tony Alford, who left for the running back coach position at Michigan two practices into spring ball.

Locklyn, 46, has been at Oregon since 2022, when he was hired by the Ducks as part of Dan Lanning’s inaugural staff after spending 2021 at Western Kentucky. The four years before that, he served in off-field roles at Florida State and Memphis.

Now, he’s continuing his ascent at Ohio State, where he’ll lead arguably the best running back tandem in college football this year.

For the full story, head on over here.

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