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Ohio State men's basketball notebook: New coach suspends Derek Funderburk

By Adam Jardy The Columbus Dispatch Published: June 17, 2017 4:00 AM
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Chris Holtmann is already sending a message to his new Ohio State team.

Less than one week after agreeing to replace Thad Matta as the men's basketball coach, Holtmann suspended redshirt freshman Derek Funderburk indefinitely Thursday afternoon.

The news was announced in a release an hour and a half after Holtmann's assistant coaching staff was made available to reporters outside the practice gym at Value City Arena. The reason for the suspension is a "failure to meet team expectations."

Including Funderburk, the Buckeyes have nine recruited scholarship players on the roster for the 2017-18 season plus one former walk-on in Joey Lane.

HOLTMANN'S STAFF HAS CENTRAL OHIO CONNECTIONS

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The list of unread text messages on Ryan Pedon's phone has topped 400 in recent days. The number of missed phone calls is in the dozens.

That's what happens with homecoming on such a scale. After a coaching career that started in 2000 as a graduate assistant at Miami University led to an assistant coaching position at Butler the past two seasons, the Bexley native was one of three assistants named to new Ohio State men's basketball coach Chris Holtmann's staff Thursday morning.

Pedon makes the move alongside Terry Johnson and Mike Schrage, but unlike them, he's returning to his roots.

In the hallway outside the practice gym at the Schottenstein Center, Pedon described the situation as a dream come true -- in part thanks to some local cuisine.

"My college roommate called (Thursday) from California and he said, 'How many times are you going to eat Rubino's Pizza this first month?' " Pedon said. "I said, 'Quite a bit.' I'm excited to be home for a lot of reasons, obviously, but knowing your surroundings is great."

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Schrage was at Holtmann's introductory news conference Monday, but Pedon and Johnson were in the process of interviewing for Holtmann's vacated position at Butler. When the school hired Milwaukee's LaVall Jordan, it cleared the way for all three to follow Holtmann to Columbus.

"That was home," Johnson said. "That's all we knew. (The last few days) have been up and down, kind of like a basketball game, but it's been great. Now that I'm here, I'm a Buckeye and we're just ready to succeed."

The hirings complete Holtmann's first coaching staff at Ohio State, and they appear to mark the end for former coach Thad Matta's assistants. Chris Jent interviewed to replace Matta but did not get the job. Matta's other assistants were Dave Dickerson and Greg Paulus.

Pedon played at Wooster College and has significant Ohio ties after spending time on staff at Miami University, Kent State, Toledo and Illinois.

Schrage has 18 years of coaching experience, including eight as an assistant at Stanford and nine at Duke as academic and recruiting coordinator, and then director of basketball operations. He won the 2001 national championship with the Blue Devils and has also been on staff with USA Basketball.

Johnson spent the last 10 seasons at Butler and was part of back-to-back Final Four teams.

At Butler, each assistant had responsibilities that are expected to follow them to Ohio State. Pedon oversees offense and Johnson defense. Schrage is in charge of personnel.

"It's mainly scouting," Schrage said. "I focus on personnel and you learn their tendencies and favorites, and it gives me a chance to zero in on them. Coach Holtmann likes the idea of someone focusing on personnel completely."

All three are expected to share recruiting duties. Pedon said that while he might recruit Ohio more than the others because of his extensive in-state experience, duties won't be divided up by region, he said.

The first days on the job have been full of recruiting phone calls, all three said, as well as getting to know their current players. Pedon said he recruited Jae'Sean Tate and Andre and Kaleb Wesson while they were in high school, and Johnson said he sent recruiting questionnaires to Keita Bates-Diop and Tate. While on the staff at Stanford, Schrage said he saw both Bates-Diop and Micah Potter.

They also recruited Massillon Jackson forward Kyle Young, who picked Butler over Ohio State last fall and signed with the Bulldogs. He's known to be considering his options and wasn't scheduled to enroll at Butler until later this month.

Pedon was limited with what he could say about the situation but said they wouldn't force any decisions. Asked if the staff might be bringing anyone else with them, Pedon said, "Potentially, if it's the right fit."


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