VERSAILLES – Justin Ahrens met with family and friends Saturday morning after officially signing earlier in the week to play basketball for Ohio State University men’s basketball program.
“It’s been fun – This is a day I’ve dreamed of all my life,” said Ahrens. “Ever since the fifth grade I’ve been working real hard, watched my brother grow up. He’s kind of led the way for me, so it’s been good.”
“It’s a great day for him,” said Versailles varsity boys basketball coach Travis Swank. “He’s earned everything that he’s received. He’s always in the gym working hard.”
“I’m just proud of him that he picked a school where he really wanted to go,” added Swank. “I think Coach Holtmann and his staff have a great, great influence on him and will put him in the right spots of where he’ll be successful as he goes along his Ohio State career.”
Originally giving his verbal commitment to the Buckeyes in 2016, Ahrens decommitted with the firing of OSU head coach Thad Matta.
OSU’s new coach Chris Holtmann, a Taylor University graduate was successful in his pursuit of Ahrens with the Versailles senior selecting OSU to continue his education while taking his basketball skills to the next level.
“Obviously with the firing of Coach Matta, that was my reason for decommitting,” Ahrens said. “I was confident in him. I was hoping to change the program around, but obviously with the hiring of Coach Holtmann it’s a major change. They’re looking to turn things around so it’s going to be good. I’m excited for the future.”
Ahrens is lone Ohio player of the four recruits to sign with the Buckeyes Class of 2018.
“I think it helps in the future classes,” Ahrens said of his OSU signing. “Coach kind of told me this is a big commitment for this state. This is something the state’s been looking for – an in-state kid to come in. It’s going to help the future classes. I’ve been talking to a bunch of the younger guys in the following grades, trying to get them to come to Ohio State.”
“We’re just looking to help turn this program around, and we’re looking for the best of it,” Ahrens stated of his goals along with the 2018 OSU recruits. “We’re looking to get a Big Ten Championship, National Championships, Final Fours, just keep on winning. We’re looking forward to it.”
Ahrens, the son of Kevin and Susan Ahrens is looking forward to contributing to the Buckeyes basketball program but not before he takes the court for his final season with the Versailles Tigers basketball team.
“It’s going to be a great year at Versailles,” said Ahrens. “We’re looking to have a great year. It’s going to be fun. We’ve been working real hard.”
PHOTO CAPTION: Versailles High School’s Justin Ahrens with parents and staff. (Front L-R) Kevin Ahrens (father), Justin and Susan Ahrens (mother). (Gaylen Blosser photo)