Tanner Holden | Photo by Bethany Althauser | The Wright State Guardian
After helping lead the Wright State University men’s basketball team to new heights in the 2021-22 season, WSU forward Tanner Holden took his talents to a bigger stage after transferring to the Ohio State University.
“It was a super hard decision, I thought about it for weeks and weeks,” Holden mentioned. “The opportunity presented itself, and I felt that I was ready.”
In that remarkable 2021-22 campaign, Holden started all 36 contests, accumulating over 1,200 minutes played and ranking in the top 15 nationally. Holden also ranked second in the nation for most free throw attempts and conversions.
That season, the Raiders claimed its third Horizon League title and advanced to the NCAA tournament. In the First Four at the University of Dayton Arena, Holden had a 37-point performance and led the Raiders to its first NCAA tournament victory over the Bryant Bulldogs before falling to Arizona in the round of 64.
Tanner Holden | Photo by Soham Parikh | The Wright State Guardian
“The turnout and the support shown for us was amazing and a once in a lifetime experience,” Holden said. “Being in Dayton 15 minutes from campus was probably one of the greatest environments I have ever played in. Just getting to the dance is a benchmark for anyone who plays college athletics, and catching that was awesome.”
In that triumphant season, the team dealt with lots of adversity with multiple players losing loved ones in their lives; Holden was among them with his grandfather’s passing.
“When my grandfather passed away, it was super hard because he was the backbone of our family,” Holden added. “As we are going through real life situations, it almost felt as if basketball adversities weren’t anything at all, and I think that propelled us to win the championship.”
At Ohio State
Holden’s transfer to Ohio State came after playing his first three seasons in the green and gold. During his time in Columbus, Holden played in 27 games as a reserve, a role he was unfamiliar with, along with more intense competition.
“My role was different. I knew going in my role would be different,” Holden mentioned. “I think the year that I spent there provided a lot of good opportunities to play against some high major players each and every day.”
After one season in the scarlet and gray, Holden reentered the transfer portal.
Back at WSU
On May 16, Holden posted a video on social media announcing that he would return to Wright State.
After the news of Holden’s return, attention then shifted to where Holden would be eligible to play in his fifth and final year. On Oct. 12, all nerves were put to rest as WSU learned Holden would be eligible for this season.
Source: Wright State's Tanner Holden has received a waiver from the NCAA and is eligible for the 2023-24 season.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) October 12, 2023
Holden is a two-time transfer who started his career at Wright State and spent last season at Ohio State.
Averaged 20.1 PPG during the 21-22 season at Wright State.
After successfully transferring back, Holden reunited with Trey Calvin, who shared the same incoming class with him.
“I talked to Trey before I made the post. We have been brothers for a long time coming in the same class,” Holden stated. “He was all for it, so for me, I think it made it a lot easier coming back. Whenever you know you are supposed to be somewhere, it makes it a lot easier, so I think from top to bottom I was welcome.”
This season is full of high hopes and excitement as the Raiders look to get back to the big dance and advance farther than the effort in 2021-22.
The Raiders will return home on Nov. 29 to face off against the Jaguars of IUPUI in the first conference game of the season to continue their journey to another NCAA tournament. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m., and viewers can tune in on ESPN+.