If you take a trip to Nicholasville, Kentucky, you’ll find a Rex Chapman poster hanging on the wall of the room where Chris Holtmann grew up. Entering his third year as Ohio State’s head coach, to say Holtmann is familiar with Kentucky basketball would be an understatement.
“You grow up in Lexington, Kentucky, you got not choice. It’s a part of your blood. It’s like being in Columbus here, football is a part of your blood. Basketball is a part of your blood there. It just is,” Holtmann said before the Buckeyes departed for Las Vegas.
Ohio St. coach Chris Holtmann grew up a UK fan in Nicholasville pic.twitter.com/Nz0nngM5KN
— Steve Moss (@smosswkyt) December 19, 2019
Holtmann has set his fandom aside since he entered the head coaching ranks in 2010. His parents, who still live in Nicholasville, are John Calipari fans. Holtmann does not know Coach Cal well, but he did share this during one of their conversations.
“I told him how much my family who lives in Kentucky loves him being the head coach there. Not only is he a Hall of Fame coach, I’ve said this before, but if God were to draw up the perfect Kentucky basketball coach, I think John’s right there in so many ways. He’s innovative, smart, embraces all that job entails, heck of a coach, elite recruiter, all the things that job needs.”
Even though Kentucky struggled against Utah Wednesday night, Holtmann is preparing Ohio State for a war.
“We’re playing a tremendous program and a tremendous Hall of Fame coach. I know they lost last night, but at the end of the day, (UK is) going to be one of the better teams in the country,” he said.
“I think Kentucky has always been extremely well-coached defensively. They’re disciplined, then they use their length and athleticism to be disruptive and affect your field goal percentage.”
It will be all business in Saturday’s CBS Sports Classic. But if Holtmann decides to be a fan one more time and give the Cats a W, the BBN would be forever grateful.