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Published February 22, 2024

A More Optimistic Horizon

An optimistic, pessimistic perspective on Ohio’s future

By Logan Adams | For The Post

On the season, Ohio sits at 7-16. The pessimist looks at that duo of numbers and concludes that the season has been a wash and looking forward to a bright future would be foolish. The optimist, on the other hand, would look at the record and likely note how the team has already eclipsed their previous season’s record and sits just on the outside of the Mid-American Conference tournament despite the bevy of new faces and names lining the locker room at The Convo.

Both the optimist and the pessimist are going off what is right in front of them but coming to different conclusions. Both conclusions are logical and supported, yet they disagree with one another rather plainly.

However, while the pessimist’s evaluation of the short term might be accurate with the Bobcats unlikely to be cutting down any nets at the end of the season, the optimist’s view of the future this program has is the mindset fans of the team should have.

To estimate the future, looking at the past is necessary. Last season, Ohio finished last in the MAC, going 6-23 despite a fantastic season from Yaya Felder, who transferred to Baylor after leading the MAC in scoring at 22 points per game.

Along with Felder, many of Ohio’s top rotation players departed from the team, leaving the program and Ohio Coach Bob Boldon to try to fill out nearly half the roster with freshmen and transfers. The team’s freshman class consisted of five players and two transfers helped to complete the new group. On top of the new nameplates in the locker room, Ohio has seen veterans return from season-ending injuries, padding its depth.

These new faces have allowed the Bobcats to eclipse their 2022-23 win total on just their 18th game of the season. The record itself is not gaudy, but the improvement is clear.

As the season has continued and the Bobcats have started to solidify their place among their MAC peers, the team is playing for more than wins. Making the MAC tournament and potentially going on a run would certainly be impressive, but Ohio has identified the pieces that will lead the program into its next chapter.

The freshman trio consisting of Monica Williams, Bailey Tabeling and Laylay Fantroy has started four straight games together, playing significant roles and making large contributions throughout the stretch.

The three are not the only pieces in Ohio’s future either. Sophomore Jaya McClure has arguably been the Bobcats' best offensive player when healthy, and freshmen Asiah Baxter and Emma Barnett will have the opportunity to step into bigger roles for the team moving forward.

Of course, optimism and the promise of future success alone will not guarantee future success. The pessimist would look at the teams atop the MAC and see groups that are simply further ahead of the Bobcats. It is impossible to guarantee success or wins, but every team will eventually have to retool. They will have down seasons, maybe even more than a few, but for the Bobcats, the talent and promise that lines this new-look roster fuels the optimism that success is in the near future.

This is a team that has experienced turnarounds as well. In Boldon’s first season as Ohio’s head coach, the team went just 9-21 but followed up in 2014-15 by going 27-5, winning the MAC and landing a spot in the NCAA tournament.

With all this to look forward to, the optimist suddenly seems the more reasonable of the two parties. While the pessimist isn’t wrong to see the Bobcats’ record as less than ideal, it’s a short-sighted and limited view of a team that possesses a future as bright as the Bobcats’.

AUTHOR: Logan Adams

EDITOR: Robert Keegan III

COPY EDITOR: Addie Hedges