'21 OH SG - Malaki Branham (Verbal Offer)

Discussion in '2021 Offered Prospects' started by OSUBasketballJunkie, May 11, 2019.

  1. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0 Staff Member

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    [​IMG]

    Rivals.com
    24/7Sports


    Pos CG
    Height 6-4
    Weight 175

    Ohio State has offered.
     
  2. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0 Staff Member

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    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0 Staff Member

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    PICKERINGTON – Malaki Branham remembers the game that changed everything well. Heck, it happened just a couple weeks ago.

    Playing at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run ‘N Slam in Fort Wayne, Indiana on May 5, Branham led NEO Tru Game to an 87-79 win against Mac Irvin Fire, which includes 2022 UCLA commit Amari Bailey and 2022 prospect Tre White, who already has offers from Kansas, Texas Tech and LSU.

    “I just blew up,” Branham told Eleven Warriors on Saturday. “I was just scoring, getting blocks, rebounds, doing everything.”

    Soon after the performance, which followed impressive play at Session I of the Nike EYBL in Atlanta in front of Ohio State coaches, the 6-foot-4, 198-pound combo guard became the top-ranked 2021 prospect in Ohio, per 247Sports, surpassing Meechie Johnson and Kalen Etzler. Branham rose all the way to No. 41 overall and become the sixth-rated combo guard in his class.

    Four days after the victory against Mac Irvin Fire, he drove to Columbus with his family for his first-ever visit to Ohio State as a recruit. The rising junior from St Vincent-St. Mary High School had played at the Schottenstein Center during the high school state basketball tournament, but he had never checked out the campus and program from the perspective of a prospect.

    Branham was taken for a trip around campus, then he checked out the locker rooms. Finally, he had a chance to sit down and talk with Chris Holtmann, who had a surprise for him.

    “He took me into his office,” Branham said. “And then he let me see a couple videos of Ohio State and how they've been doing and just talked about the facts of the school. And then after that, he said, 'I would like to offer you.'”

    Branham, who said he had no idea the offer was coming, called it a “surreal moment.”

    “I was just smiling,” he said. “I was so happy. I was happy for my family.”

    Ohio State could have waited to offer Branham, but it didn’t. Instead, it became the first high-major program to extend a scholarship offer to him. Duquesne and Akron have also offered Branham, and Ohio University’s former coaching staff gave him an offer. Miami (Ohio) has also been in contact.

    As of Saturday, he hadn’t heard from any other high-major programs, though that will change soon. His team already advanced to Nike’s Peach Jam event in July that will be filled with college coaches, and he received an invite to participate in the 2019 Nike Elite 100.

    Unlike Etzler, who was offered on the same day as Branham and committed on the spot, Branham doesn’t have any imminent plans to end his recruitment and become a Buckeye.

    “I'm just going to keep my recruitment open,” Branham said. “We'll see in the future if that happens, then that happens. I'm just trying to keep playing basketball.”

    [​IMG]
    Branham is not only an attractive prospect to Ohio State due to his skill, but because he grew up on the north side of Columbus.

    He spent the first 14 years of his life in the city that houses the Buckeyes, eventually becoming a star middle schooler before moving to Akron to attend St. Vincent-St. Mary. He said he cheered for Ohio State “a little bit” growing up, mentioning he “still will cheer for them.”

    Early in Branham’s recruitment, the Buckeyes have centered their pitch on him playing basketball for the state’s university, the one he grew up down the road from.

    “It was just because you know I'm from Columbus, you know, hometown,” Branham said. “They think that I could be a part of something big because they did pretty good this year. And they said if I come, it's going to be even bigger.”

    Branham, who has a 6-foot-10 wingspan, said Ohio State views him as a combo guard who can play on the wing.

    The long-limbed gifted athlete averaged roughly 12 points and six rebounds as a sophomore during the 2018-19 season. He described himself as “versatile.”

    “I like playing on the wing, getting ball screens, getting my teammates open, sharing the ball,” Branham said. “If I need to get my buckets, I get my buckets.”

    He said his steepest improvements in the past year have been his shooting and aggressiveness.

    Ohio State assistant coach Ryan Pedon has kept in contact with Branham's uncle, and Branham has talked mostly with Holtmann.

    “He looks like a good coach,” Branham said. “He's going to get up in you. But he looks like he's very interested in me. That's what I'm kind of looking for. I'm looking for a coach that's very interested in me and see me developing in their program.”

    Already with one commitment from Etzler, the Buckeyes are making a case for a multi-Ohioan 2021 class by offering Branham and Johnson.
     
  6. OSUBasketballJunkie

    OSUBasketballJunkie Never Forget 31-0 Staff Member

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    Malaki Branham and St. Vincent-St. Mary played a trio of games on Friday, which allowed him to once again play in front of Ohio State's coaches who offered him a scholarship a few weeks ago. A couple things stood out, including his multi-level scoring ability. Branham excels at driving and finishing through contact, and he also has a reliable mid-range game and off-the-bounce jumper. Listed at 6-foot-4, 175 pounds, Branham currently views himself as a combo guard, but he could grow into a bigger wing by the time he's ready to head to college. He's a competitive player who doesn't hide his emotions on the court, which Holtmann has been attracted to in the past.
     
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