FORT MYERS, Fla. – Jimmy Sotos had an uncomfortable flashback during the final minutes of Monday night’s game.
Ohio State still leads No. As part of Fort Myers Tip-Off the fifth-year guard was finishing his most important game of the season. Sotos scored six points in a record 18-minute game, filling the void created by Gene Brown III’s absence.
This was the same scene as when Sotos had to fill the void left behind by an injured colleague. It also reminded him of his last game in which he sustained a broken right shoulder, ending his 2020-21 season.
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“It was almost like a relief for me,” Sotos said one day after the 79-76 win against Seton Hall. “It was like, ‘I’m doing this, here we go. I remember with like three minutes left I said to myself, ‘I just can’t get hurt.’ The last time I got here, and then I didn’t get to live to see the next game.’ I knew I had to get through the game now.”
Jimmy Sotos’s recovery
The injury took place on January 9, 2021 during a Rutgers match. Sotos started his Buckeyes debut with 28 minutes. He hit two 3-pointers, had four assists, and only one turnover. Then, he dived for a ball in the second period and fell hard onto his right arm. He wouldn’t return for the rest of the season, and when Ohio State opened the season with a nail-biting, last-second one-point win against Akron, a fully healthy Sotos only watched from the sideline as an unused substitute.
The same went for last Thursday’s game at Xavier, the first loss of the season for the Buckeyes. Four days later, though, Sotos held down significant minutes and helped effectively direct the Ohio State offense against Seton Hall’s pressure.
Between those games, 317 days passed. After three years as the primary Bucknell contributor, Sotos rehabilitated his shoulder and appeared in two Buckeye games. He scored five points and played 17 minutes.
“It’s definitely not easy, especially coming from a school where I was kind of the guy on the team (and) taking a backseat now,”He stated. “But I knew what I was getting myself into. I wanted to be a part of something that’s bigger than me, part of something special.”
That’s meant staying patient through the early portion of the season even when his number wasn’t called. Chris Holtmann, Ohio State’s coach said that he regrets not calling the fifth-year senior against Seton Hall.
“I thought Jimmy was great,”Holtmann spoke. “He really stabilized us, allowed us to handle their pressure better. I thought Jimmy was phenomenal. He’s got to be that for us. I’m kicking myself a little bit. I should’ve used him more the other night (against Xavier).”
His appearance at the Cintas Center didn’t go unnoticed by the Xavier students, however. Sotos’ large social media following and the bullet points in his paper were highlighted to every seat. He was loudly berated by fans each time he went in their direction during pregame warmups.
The booing is something Sotos said he’s grown accustomed to, even if the reasons for it have changed.
“I’ve always been booed because I was the guy on the court and I was able to shake it off and go play, but when I don’t have an opportunity to show what I can do I’ve got to eat it,”He stated. “Initially when I was going through this whole process of getting all these followers and kind of becoming a social media celebrity in a way, it was crossing the line but now I’m to the point where I’m used to it. I guess there’s no rules anymore. There’s no boundaries to what people can say.”
The shoulder injury has passed, even though he still needs to hold a stick during warm-ups. Sotos was lauded by new assistant coach Tony Skinn during the summer as one of the team’s best shooters. He said that despite playing many games, practicing against Jamari Wheeler Jr. and Meechie John Jr. helped him to keep his head down.
It remains to be seen what this means for his performance Wednesday night against No. We will continue to watch 23 Florida. Sotos might be eligible for the same position that he played against the Pirates while Brown is still out of action. The Buckeyes have committed the future position to second-year guard Johnson Jr., and Malaki Branham to first-year guard. Sotos will likely only play a limited amount of time as Holtmann experiments with lineups and rotations and his younger players make mistakes.
That’s fine with Sotos.
“It felt great to just help the team out any way I can,”He stated. “That’s my role on this team, so whether it’s supporting guys from the bench or being a leader on and off the court or impacting the game on the court, whatever I can do.”
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