In his sophomore season at Bucknell, Jimmy Sotos went for 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists in a loss to Ohio State. But it turned out to be one of the games in his three-year career at the Patriot League school that ultimately got the former Conant star to thinking.
Sotos, who started 77 games in his three-year career at Bucknell, decided to put his name in the NCAA transfer portal. On Monday, the 6-3 point guard, who will sit one year to play one, committed to the Buckeyes.
“I played a bunch of high-major schools during my time there, and in all those games I never doubted myself and was up for that type of competition,” says Sotos of a Bucknell schedule that not only included the Buckeyes but Syracuse, Penn State, TCU, Arkansas and North Carolina over the years. “I thought I proved myself in those games. So when the season ended I started to give it some thought, the idea of playing at that level. I talked about it with my family and decided that was something I wanted to explore.”
When Sotos went into the NCAA transfer portal, the interest was a lot different than when he was starring at Conant –– at least when it came to the immediacy and instant gratification.
As a junior in high school, Sotos, who led the Cougars to a school record 26 wins a year later, didn’t have a whole lot going on the recruiting front.
“At that time I didn’t know if I was going to be a Division III, Division II or Division I player,” Sotos said of his early recruitment in high school.
While it took some time –– the City/Suburban Hoops Report labeled Sotos one of the most overlooked prospects in the class heading into the summer before his senior year –– the offers came. He actually became a hot commodity among low-major and mid-major programs. Between July and early October when he committed to Bucknell, Sotos picked up 20 scholarship offers.
This time around? Within minutes of entering the transfer portal Sotos had a plethora of high-major interest, including Ohio State, Butler, Gonzaga, Minnesota, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Xavier and others.
Ohio State and coach Chris Holtman, however, hit a home run –– and in this case a much-needed lead-off home run.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, the spring recruitment of players, including transfers, has been anything but normal. In place of campus visits players are doing a lot of their own homework and research, spending hours on the phone and downloading the Zoom app for video communication. Sotos was won over by Holtmann in a hurry.
“We aren’t able to get on campus because of the virus, so it’s a lot time in conversations and we hit it off,” says Sotos of the Ohio State coaching staff. “I had heard great things about coach Holtmann and his staff by talking with other people. He is a man of his word, a coach with integrity, and I trust him. I also looked at the roster, and I know I will have to put the work in, but it was appealing to see a route to seeing the floor.”
Just four years ago Sotos was a little-known prospect without a Division I scholarship offer. After scoring 1,000-plus points at Conant, a rock solid three years at Bucknell, adding weight, muscle and gaining a better mindset and mentality, Sotos has elevated himself to the Big Ten. And he can’t wait.
“I am ecstatic,” says Sotos about his future at Ohio State. “I know I will be antsy sitting out and not playing next year, but I’m a Midwest kid who is going to be playing in the Big Ten where my friends and family can come see me play on college basketball’s biggest stage.”