Former Duke Forward Sean Stewart Commits To Ohio State 

By May 3, 2024 (12:03 pm)Basketball

Ohio State and head coach Jake Diebler added another significant piece to its 2024-25 roster on Friday when former Duke forward Sean Stewart committed to Ohio State with three years of eligibility remaining. 

Stewart (6-8, 230), who entered the transfer portal on April 19 — one of a program-record seven Duke players to depart from the program this season — is a former five-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American out of Montverde (Fla.) Academy, where he entered college as the nation’s 17th-best overall prospect, fifth-best power forward and second-best player in Florida. 

Stewart held offers from numerous Power Six schools — including Alabama, Georgetown, Michigan and Ohio State — coming out of high school in 2023, but he opted to join head coach Jon Scheyer and Duke out of high school in 2023, helping anchor a Blue Devils recruiting class that ranked second in the country. 

Despite joining Duke as a highly-touted prospect, Stewart struggled to find consistent production on the floor his freshman season. He registered 2.6 points and 3.2 rebounds while logging just 8.4 minutes per game in 33 appearances. Stewart reached double figures just once in his freshman campaign, that coming in his 16-point, 10-rebound performance against La Salle on Nov. 21, just his fifth-ever collegiate game. 

Still, the 6-8, 230-pound Stewart possesses great potential due to his imposing frame and unique athleticism. He broke the program’s all-time record for standing vertical at 36 inches, breaking the previous mark of 35.5 inches held by former freshman phenom and current New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson. 

These traits piqued the interest of Ohio State while Stewart was in high school — a recruitment that was mostly led by then-associate head coach and now-head coach Diebler — and those feelings resurfaced when the former five-star hit the portal. The Buckeyes hosted Stewart on an official visit the week of April 29 and were one of several high-profile teams — such as Arkansas, Cincinnati and Arkansas — interested in the rising sophomore, an effort made by Diebler and Ohio State that Stewart and his family seemed to appreciate. 

“Obviously we spoke with (former Ohio State Chris) Holtmann (during his high school recruitment) and had a relationship with him but it was mostly Diebler,” Sean’s dad, Michael Stewart, told the Columbus Dispatch before his son committed. “This time around it’s all Diebler, but he’s the head coach. His word carries a lot more weight. A lot more responsibility. We respect what he’s trying to get done and we’re going to try to move fast on this thing, but Ohio State is definitely a situation that we like.”

Stewart’s athleticism in the frontcourt is a welcome sign for an Ohio State team that lost its premier interior player to the transfer portal this offseason, former Buckeyes center Felix Okpara, who on April 25 committed to Tennessee after initially pledging his allegiance to Ohio State earlier that month. 

Stewart — who recorded 16 blocks his freshman season, the fourth-most on the team — will likely serve as an important piece of a Buckeyes’ frontcourt that is spearheaded by Kentucky transfer and 7-1 center Aaron Bradshaw along with sophomore Devin Royal, making for a potentially formidable three-man lineup in the paint if Diebler decides to play big.

With Stewart’s commitment, Ohio State now has just one roster spot remaining, which it will likely use on a guard to provide backcourt depth behind projected starting guards Bruce Thornton and former South Carolina guard Meechie Johnson. The Buckeyes have now added four transfers since the offseason in Bradshaw, Johnson, Stewart and former San Diego State guard Micah Parrish.

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