Ohio State basketball starter changes his mind and enters the transfer portal

The Ohio State basketball team thought they were going to have Felix Okpara next season after he said he was returning. They no longer will.
Jan 3, 2024; Columbus, OH, USA;
Ohio State Buckeyes center Felix Okpara (34) and Jamison Battle (10)
Jan 3, 2024; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes center Felix Okpara (34) and Jamison Battle (10) / Clare Grant/Columbus Dispatch / USA

The Ohio State basketball program thought they were going to have their starting center back next season. Felix Okpara had announced soon after the portal opened that he was returning to Columbus. It was a solid job by Jake Diebler to make sure that their best defensive player returned.

Things have now changed. Okpara is now in the transfer portal. We don't know why yet. Perhaps he didn't realize just how good Kentucky transfer Aaron Bradshaw was. Maybe someone contacted him in the portal and wanted to give him a ton of NIL money. It could be a combination of both.

Whatever the reason is, the Buckeyes are now back to not having center depth. With only two centers on the roster, they will need to scour the portal for another one. Only Bradshaw and Austin Parks remain on the roster from that position. It's not an ideal position to be in.

Losing Okpara is not a good thing. While he averaged just 6.6 points per game last year, he showed he can be an elite rim protector and a solid rebounder. He grabbed 6.4 rebounds and blocked 2.4 shots per game as well. Can Bradshaw make up that production?

Bradshaw now moves up into the starting position at center. He was the number-one center in the country and the fourth-best player overall in the 2023 recruiting class, so he certainly has talent. Now it will be time for him to showcase that talent and be an anchor down low.


The Ohio State basketball program will keep looking for another center to pick up the depth there. It's late in the portal season, so we'll see what caliber of center they will be able to get. Diebler and his staff have a lot of work to do to make sure the roster has what it needs before the season starts.