How his time unfolded at Ohio State

The natural inclination would have been to promise points, wins or maybe even championships. Such is the typical bravado that occurs when an athlete moves to a new place and embarks on a new stage in their career.

Seth Towns took a different route. A Columbus kid who always dreamed of playing for the Buckeyes, Towns was not heavily recruited by his hometown school despite becoming the all-time leading scorer in Northland history and instead opted for an Ivy League upbringing. Towns signed with Harvard and, as a sophomore, was the league’s Player of the Year in a season that turned out to be his last with significant minutes.

Two injury-stricken seasons later, Towns was due to earn his sociology degree when he opted to end his basketball career as a graduate transfer. Michigan, Virginia, Kansas and Maryland were all in contention, and Duke made a late push, but eventually Towns went where his heart had been and committed to Ohio State in the spring. 2020.

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It had been more than two years since Towns had set foot in a Division I game, and when he considered the road ahead, he had a promise to Ohio State fans: We didn’t know what. type of production his body would allow, but the body of work would show Buckeyes fans how much it meant to him to put on that jersey and live his lifelong dream.

On Sunday afternoon, on the eve of what would have been his third and final season with the Buckeyes, echoes of that sentiment were all over a statement Towns released announcing he was retiring from the program.

“Buckeye Nation, it has been a great honor to represent you and The Ohio State University for two years,” he wrote. “I share with many of you the frustration of not having been able to compete at the level that I am capable of, or at least something close to it. Yet, it is the immense gratitude that I feel to have had the chance to play everything that carried me for so long.

The statement, released 534 days since his last game, puts a spotlight on Towns’ career. Here’s how it got here.

March 21, 2020 — Seth Towns commits to Ohio State

COVID-19 was not in the public consciousness when Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann visited Harvard to spend time talking with Towns, who was considering a graduate transfer. The Buckeyes had won at Northwestern on Jan. 26 and were preparing for a Feb. 1 home date with Indiana when Holtmann went to Cambridge, Massachusetts, and laid the groundwork for Towns to come home.

Just over a month later, the sport was on indefinite hiatus but Towns’ recruitment was gaining momentum. A list of contenders emerged in mid-March that included Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio State, Syracuse and Virginia. A day after that list was made public, Duke emerged as a potential suitor as well, and ultimately the Blue Devils presented the Buckeyes with the biggest challenge.

“It all stopped there,” Towns said after receiving a phone call from Mike Krzykewski. “I knew they were interested because my coach, Coach Tommy Amaker, had been in touch with them about me, but they hadn’t contacted me directly so I didn’t know how bad it was. interested or whether it was a legitimate interest.”

It was legit, but so were the feelings about Ohio State.

“Playing for Ohio State was a childhood dream of mine,” he said. “I was born Buckeye, raised a Buckeye and even while at Harvard I was still watching Ohio State, cheering them on.”

May 28, 2020 – Seth Towns graduates from Harvard

Graduation was virtual due to the pandemic, but Towns earned his bachelor’s degree in sociology and posted a photo of himself in his gowns on social media.

May 29, 2020 – Seth Towns is detained by Columbus police during a peaceful protest

After graduating, Towns took part in the protests that took place in downtown Columbus following the killing of black man George Floyd by white police officers in Minneapolis. He was handcuffed and driven into a police van but was neither charged nor arrested.

Cities of Seth: Ohio State men’s basketball player Seth Towns has long spoken about social justice

In a post on Twitter the next day, Towns wrote: ‘In the space of 24 hours I walked through a virtual Harvard graduation scene in the back of a police van alongside other protesters peaceful – of which I am equally proud. .” He also appeared on SportsCenter to discuss the situation, where he promised to continue using his voice to speak out on behalf of people who are not being heard.

December 8, 2020 – Seth Towns takes a knee

Ohio State started with three straight games at home, but traveled to Notre Dame for the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Both teams were inside their respective locker rooms when the national anthem played for the first three games, but as the Buckeyes and Irish stood on the pitch inside the Joyce Center Towns he left dropping his right knee to the hardwood while keeping his arms locked with his teammates.

After the game, he tweeted a picture of himself kneeling with the message “Justice for Casey Goodson,” a 23-year-old black man who was shot in the back and killed by a white Columbus sheriff’s deputy. Towns and Goodson were childhood friends

December 19, 2020 — Seth Towns makes his Ohio State debut

There were no fans in the stands to witness it, but Towns returned to the field after a 1,014-day layoff as Ohio State took on UCLA inside the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse in Cleveland as part of the CBSSports Classic. With 2:58 left in the first half, Towns replaced Musa Jallow and made his debut for the Buckeyes in Game 7 of the season. He was hoping to be full at the start of the year, but when pre-season camp started he still hadn’t progressed to full team drills or the cup.

He played for two minutes and missed his only shot, a 3-pointer, but he was back.

March 12, 2021 – Seth Towns plays key role in win over Purdue

The progression of cities was anything but linear. He saw double-digit minutes in back-to-back late December games, but totaled 15 in Ohio State’s next three games, a pattern that would essentially repeat itself heading into the playoffs. But after playing just two minutes in a Big Ten tournament second-round game against Minnesota, Towns received a text from Holtmann telling him to be ready for the next day’s quarterfinal game against Purdue.

In what would be Kyle Young’s final game of the season, Towns played what was then a season-high 21 minutes and scored 12 points. It would be his best score for the Buckeyes, and his contributions helped the Buckeyes pass the Boilermakers in overtime. Two days later, he totaled 28 minutes in Ohio State’s title game overtime loss to Illinois, but when the Buckeyes suffered a first-round NCAA Tournament upset at the hands of Oral Roberts, Towns finished with six rebounds and no points in 11 minutes.

It would be his last game.

May 15, 2021 – Seth Towns launches public book club

Hoping to engage in respectful and informed conversation with others, Towns launched the “Best Books List” and provided links to read free copies of books beginning with “Are Prisons Outdated?” by Angela Y. Davis. An avid reader, Towns said his goals include encouraging others to engage with “the systems that perpetuate this violence and oppression.”

September 2021 – Seth Towns undergoes back surgery

After entering the offseason focusing on restoring his knees, Towns’ legs felt as strong as they had since the initial injury at Harvard when something else came to light. In early September, Towns underwent a microdiscectomy to remove a damaged disc and relieve pressure on his nerves. This came with a 3-4 month recovery time, but at the team media day, Towns expressed his belief that it was just a different and unrelated bump on the road.

“You can’t go too low because hope is still alive, hope is still there,” he said. “Honestly, the odds are really good for me to have a good year.”

On Oct. 29, Holtmann told reporters that Towns was “just beginning to get back into conditioning activity” and it was believed he would return by mid-December.

February 8, 2022 – Seth Towns is closed for the season

The longer Towns remained on the sidelines, the more unlikely his participation seemed, and a day before the Buckeyes traveled to Rutgers, Holtmann ended speculation by announcing he would not be returning this season.

The situation was described as “end of season, but not end of career” by the Ohio State coach.

“I’m optimistic his days in a Buckeye uniform aren’t over, I really am,” he said.

April 22, 2022 – Seth Towns plans to return

After taking both a redshirt and medical redshirt season during his career, Towns was given the chance to return for a seventh year of college basketball thanks to the extra year of eligibility given to all. players who played during the 2020-21 season impacted by COVID. After spending a month thinking about it and talking with Holtmann, Towns chose to exercise that option and give his Ohio State dream another shot. The Buckeyes did not need to release his purse and, considering it a low-risk, high-reward move, agreed to bring him back.

September 4, 2022 – Seth Towns steps away

For months, Towns continued his rehab with the goal of having some sort of role near the end of the rotation for the 2022-23 Buckeyes. He did not participate in the team’s exhibition games in the Bahamas, but practiced while continuing to work on his body and get in position to play once fall training began. .

Instead, after the team completed its usual preseason timed mile, the haphazard recovery times Towns continued to experience ultimately proved too long. He will be allowed to visit the team and attend games and practices, but Towns will now begin to chart the next phase of his life – one that will almost certainly no longer include basketball.

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@AdamJardy

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