Tony Skinn has only been an assistant coach of the Ohio State men’s basketball team for just over a month, but he’s already motivating the Buckeyes to break team records in the practice gym .
Skinn said he works regularly with junior forward Justin Ahrens, first year guard Eugene Brown and senior guard Jimmy Sotos. Although Sotos has recovered from surgery to repair a separated shoulder suffered Jan. 9 at Rutgers, he set a new record in what Skinn called “the Celtic exercise.”
“He just broke a record the other day where everyone was wondering if it was true or not, but I had three witnesses in the gym,” Skinn said. “You have a minute to make as many punches as possible, and Jimmy has gone around and back in one minute and three seconds. It is currently the record here at Ohio State.
Skinn officially joined the Buckeyes on May 27 after spending the last three years with Seton Hall. While he said finding the right home in Columbus for his family has been difficult in today’s market, Skinn has plunged headfirst into the recruiting machine operated in the state of Ohio.
“Between trying to acclimatize with the job but also trying to figure things out on a personal level, it’s been a whirlwind,” Skinn said. “Obviously, I’m delighted to be here. I know the rookies, our coaching staff, we’re all excited to get back to some normalcy with guys coming to campus. It’s been non-stop, it’s been about 30 days in a row, nothing in between with just guys on campus.
Skinn said he seeks to get to know the Buckeyes personally and welcome two or three rookies to campus each day.
It wasn’t a challenge for Skinn, however, as he said the first call from head coach Chris Holtmann and Ohio State had him excited – maybe even a little too much.
“It’s definitely a brand and a place that I was excited about when I first received the phone call. Maybe a little too excited because these things, these jobs are very hard to come by, ”Skinn said. “I was thrilled to have this opportunity, and then obviously once I got the job it was just one of those things where I knew the brand is something that I always have. wanted to be part. ”
Since arriving, Skinn has focused on building organic relationships with his new players and colleagues. He said he was a fan of listening to those around him.
“I don’t think you can develop in life if you don’t listen,” he said.
Skinn said his new assistant colleagues Jake Diebler and Ryan Pedon helped him feel comfortable. It fits in perfectly as each member of the trio has a collegial playing experience: Skinn at George Mason, Pedon at Wooster, and Diebler as Buckeye’s hometown.
“It was fun, they made it pretty easy for me to transition,” Skinn said. “It’s not all serious and it’s not all basketball; a few jokes in there too, so I enjoyed working with these guys in a short time.
The native of Maryland – who proudly boasts of being from the “rich DMV” because he knows the areas of Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia – said he was impressed by Holtmann’s willingness to listen. the many voices that make up the Ohio State roster at staff meetings.
Skinn said he’s bringing something to the table that isn’t in Holtmann’s training tree, and after welcoming rookies almost daily while working with the current Buckeyes, he applied his skills pretty quickly. .
“In my opinion, I just think I’m bringing something different from the outside, and I think that’s what [Holtmann] was looking, ”Skinn said. “As uncomfortable as he may have been about hiring someone he doesn’t know, he did his due diligence. To have the opportunity to have a guy like me who comes from the “rich DMV” – I’m a little biased so I have to say “rich DMV” – is just a positive thing to have a guy like me who knows this area that may have been a bit untapped.