Ohio State Buckeyes officially vote Bruce Thornton into team captain role

For a spell, Ohio State freshman Bruce Thornton was a captain without the title.

Now, after a rare revote, he’s both.

On Monday, Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann said that the point guard was voted into the role after he had the players vote for a second time this season.

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“I just wanted our guys to have a say in revoting for the leadership on the team,” Holtmann said. “I just thought it was a good time to do it. They revoted, and he got a significant number of votes. First time we’ve really had a freshman do that.

“Typically we do it earlier in the year and it’s just once on the year, but I just think with such a new group it was important to do it again.”

During the preseason, Holtmann said that while Thornton would assume a role of leadership on this team, he was hesitant to considering him a full-on captain because he didn’t want to put too much on the shoulders of a first-year player who was also the team’s point guard. In a team vote, returning players Justice Sueing and Zed Key alongside Oklahoma State graduate transfer Isaac Likekele were voted as the season’s three captains.

But in the days leading up to a Jan. 21 game against Iowa, Holtmann started to include Thornton in the team’s captain meetings after consistently publicly asking for more from his veterans. His ascension to a leadership role came despite a rough stretch of play for Thornton, who dealt with a bone bruise to his right (shooting) wrist, due to his status as an “everyday” guy on the roster who never asked out of drills regardless of fatigue or injury.

Ohio State guard Bruce Thornton drives past Wisconsin guard Chucky Hepburn.
Ohio State guard Bruce Thornton drives past Wisconsin guard Chucky Hepburn.

Thornton’s elevation to the status of captain did not come at the expense of any of the three previous captains, The Dispatch has confirmed. Key, Likekele and Sueing all remain team captains.

The Buckeyes have lost nine of their last 10 games entering Thursday’s game with Northwestern, but Thornton had his most personally impactful game in weeks when he finished with 22 points in Sunday’s 77-69 loss at Michigan. It was just one point shy of his total from the previous six games combined.

“Consistently putting in work,” Thornton said after the game when asked about his performance. “That’s the only way I know how to do it. That’s been embedded in me since I was young. Having teammates I have now that push me every day in practice, you only can get better from that. Ups and downs, I still put in the same work as everybody else on the team. It’s just me showing what I’m capable of doing.”

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Now he’s being officially asked to do that in the locker room as well.

Asked prior to a Feb. 2 game against Wisconsin how he would define his leadership style, Thornton said, “Showing on and off the court the way Ohio State should be represented. Character, respectful, having a bunch of humility about yourself. I feel like if we have those characteristics, we’ll be good.”


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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State revotes, adds Bruce Thornton as team captain