Ohio State Basketball: Carton’s choice to step away is inspirational

The Ohio State basketball team will be without a key member of its teams during a crucial stretch of the season, but the reasoning is inspirational.

Freshman point guard of the Ohio State basketball team D.J. Carton announced via Twitter on Thursday that he is temporarily stepping away from the program to focus on his mental health.

This is part of what Carton wrote on Twitter.

“I have been suffering with mental health issues for a couple years. I have been through a lot. I’m disappointed to say I’m not 100% right now. I am not doing my teammates justice if I don’t work on this now. I am doing everything in my power to strengthen my mental health.”

Mental health awareness has been on the rise in recent years, especially in sports as NBA star Kevin Love has openly discussed depression and anxiety that you can read more about in this USA Today Sports article. That’s in addition to NBA star Demar DeRozan who has also talked about his battles with depression that you can read more about in this Toronto Star article.

The attitude in sports has historically been to “suck it up,” but sometimes things can’t just be put on the back burner. Depression, anxiety and all other mental health issues can sometimes totally consume someone to the point where they aren’t their 100-percent self or even close to it.

For example, according to USA Today, this is what Love recalled his brother saying when talking about Love’s depression and how it affected their family.

“‘We’d lose you’,” Love recounts his brother saying. “‘You’d go into your room, and Kevin would come out whenever Kevin would come out.’ He was just like, you just weren’t there.”

If Carton can’t be his 100-percent self because of what he is dealing with right now, then getting through this is of the utmost importance and is bigger than basketball. It’s not something you can just expect him to just push through, especially in addition to the pressures of trying to get this basketball team back on track.

Carton has displayed extreme maturity and bravery. This is a kid that just graduated high school in 2019. For him to have the self-awareness to know that stepping away from the game he loves is what’s best for him and his mental health, that’s something you don’t see from a lot of people let alone someone at such a young age.

The Ohio State Buckeyes might make the NCAA Tournament, they might not, but having a mature guy like Carton – who also has all the potential in the world – is something that all programs should want. My thoughts are with Carton as he works to get through this and works to get back on the Ohio State basketball court.