What does George Washington III's de-commitment mean for Ohio State's 2023 class?

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch
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A weekend that featured a pair of potential additions to the 2023 class ended with a de-commitment for the Ohio State men’s basketball team.

On Monday morning, four-star guard George Washington III announced his plans to withdraw his verbal commitment to join the Buckeyes and reopen his recruitment. The first member to join what has become a four-man class will now pursue other options, and according to multiple national reports that includes schools such as Virginia, Seton Hall, Missouri, Auburn and Dayton – where his father is an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team – that have all already reached out.

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The announcement came one day after Washington and four others wrapped their official visits to Ohio State. That list included the three other members of the class and Taison Chatman, a four-star guard from Minneapolis who could be announcing a commitment to Ohio State, Kansas, Xavier or Virginia within the week. That list doesn’t include the most famous 2023 recruit on the planet: Bronny James, son of LeBron James and a top-50 combo guard who took an unofficial visit to Ohio State.

In a message posted to Twitter, Washington thanked coach Chris Holtmann and the Ohio State staff and said he came to his conclusion “after much thought, prayer and deep discussion with my family … I am excited to see what the future holds!”

It’s what the future didn’t appear to hold at Ohio State that led to the decision, not the fact that Chatman and James are both considering the Buckeyes. According to a source close to the situation, Washington’s decision to de-commit from Ohio State was borne out of multiple ongoing conversations about his eventual role at the next level. Listed as a shooting guard by the national recruiting services, Washington has also been viewed as a potential candidate to handle point guard responsibilities in college, a role he also fulfilled while playing AAU basketball for All-Ohio Red.

A skilled scorer and shooter, Washington committed to the Buckeyes last November, when he was ranked No. 50 nationally in the 247Sports.com composite database. He had been ranked as high as No. 40 but has since slid to No. 76 following the summer AAU session. In 247Sports’ own rankings, he dropped from No. 79 when the spring AAU period opened to No. 104 in May and now sits at No. 106 nationally.

The decision to de-commit had nothing to do with finding space for potential commitments from Chatman, James or both. Had Washington remained committed, the Buckeyes would have still added at least one more member to their 2023 class with the expectation that roster attrition annually creates at least one unexpected opening due to the transfer portal.

Chatman, a four-star combo guard from Minneapolis Totino-Grace, is ranked No. 31 nationally by 247Sports and No. 44 in the composite. He has taken official visits to Kansas and Xavier and could be deciding from a list that also includes Ohio State, UConn and possibly Virginia within the week.

James will play his senior season at Chatsworth (California) Sierra Canyon, where he is ranked No. 41 nationally by 247Sports and No. 45 in the composite. While at Ohio State, he went through a film session showing how he would fit into the system, participated in a photo shoot and took a tour of campus while accompanied by his parents. It’s unclear what other visits James could take or when he could make a decision, but it’s possible he won’t decide on a school until the spring.

Ohio State’s 2023 class is likely to be comprised of four members. With commitments from Scotty Middleton, Austin Parks and Devin Royal, the Buckeyes have the No. 9 class nationally according to 247Sports.

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

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