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Ohio men’s basketball coach Jeff Boals speaks at a news conference on March 18 in The Convo. (FILE)

Men's Basketball: What's happened in Jeff Boals' first week in Athens

Jeff Boals was officially announced as Ohio’s 19th coach in program history on March 18. That afternoon, he had his first team meeting, full of players that filled Saul Phillips’ roster. 

Since then, three players have entered the transfer portal, and Boals has offered two more scholarships. 

Jason Carter entered the transfer portal last week and decided to transfer to Xavier, the Ohio athletic department confirmed Monday night. The redshirt sophomore was the Bobcats’ leading scorer this past season, averaging 16.5 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game. Toward the end of the season, he talked about his want to play for Phillips candidly, and that ultimately led to the decision to transfer once the coach was gone. 

Teyvion Kirk and Torey James still remain in the transfer portal, but haven’t decided if they’ll transfer yet. Entering the portal does not guarantee a transfer. 

Kirk’s been Ohio’s starting point guard the past two seasons, averaging 14.3 points per game. But after what seemed like a stellar freshman year, Kirk’s play took a dip. His ball control was one of his biggest weaknesses this season, as he turned the ball over 137 times and dished out just 76 assists. 

James never found much playing time as a freshman and was one of the last recruits in last year’s class. He played in only 14 games, averaging 4.8 minutes a game. 

Boals has echoed from day one that there’s needed to be a culture change within the program in terms of accountability. While Carter will be missed, Boals only wants players on his team that want to be in Athens. Most importantly, he wants players who thrive on and off the court. 


Over the past week, he’s offered scholarships to high school seniors Ben Roderick and Morgan Safford. 

Roderick is a 6-foot-5 small forward from Olentangy Liberty who has openly talked about his want to stay in-state. He’s been holding out for an offer from Ohio State, but Xavier is the leader for now. He most recently had 25 points and nine rebounds in the OHSAA Division I Semifinals this past weekend against Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.  

Safford received an offer Tuesday. The 6-foot-4 shooting guard from Bishop Hartley averaged 25.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.3 assists this season. He was named to MaxPreps’ Third-Team All-Ohio list and the Division II Ohio Prep Sports Writers Association All-Ohio First-Team. 

Lunden McDay and Ben Wight, who were recruited and signed their letters of intent under Phillips’, have yet to announce any changes. Boals said he would honor those commitments. Wight is a 6-foot-9, 200-pound forward and McDay is a 6-foot-3 point guard from Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary. 

News and notes

Boals still hasn’t filled out the entirety of his staff, but he has hired Lamar Thornton as an assistant. Thornton was in Columbus this past weekend watching the state basketball tournament and wearing Bobcat garb. 

With Geno Ford accepting the job at Stony Brook, Boals will have to find an assistant. The original plan was to bring over his entire staff from Long Island, but Ford will be staying put. 


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