Ohio State was not supposed to be good this season. Sports Illustrated picked them to finish 11th in the conference. The unofficial Big Ten media poll also picked the Buckeyes to finish 11th. Ohio State defied the odds and finished second in the conference. What accounted for the experts’ failure in projecting the Buckeyes? Keita Bates-Diop.
The 6’7’’ redshirt junior from Normal, Illinois had a breakout season and is primed for a strong NCAA tournament. He was named Big Ten Player of the Year while averaging 19.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. Bates-Diop also shot 35.8% from three-point range on 162 attempts. Like most other players on the Golden Choice, his draft projections range from middle first round through the second round.
The pros and cons of Keita Bates-Diop
To begin, his father added Diop onto the last name because he reveres Cheikh Anta Diop, the famous Senegalese scholar. So like other players featured on the Golden Choice, Bates-Diop has a formidable name on his side.
Keita Bates-Diop has an ideal NBA body. His long arms make him a versatile wing player who can stretch to play the 2, 3 or 4 positions. Like Shake Milton, Bates-Diop is a solid free-throw shooter, impressive defender and above average rebounder. He’s exactly the type of do-it-all forward that attracts the Warriors.
So why isn’t this man perfect? His ball-handling skills leave much to be desired. The Warriors have a lot of experience though drafting players who aren’t great dribblers—think Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes and Patrick McCaw. He also isn’t as quick as players drafted in the top 15. Bates-Diop’s floor is becoming a solid 3 and D wing.
He worked his way up at Ohio State. Nothing was handed to him. Bob Myers is drawn the NCAA veterans who can contribute immediately.
Ohio State is a high-risk, high-reward team in the NCAA tournament but will secure a 3-6 seed. Bates-Diop will be a large part of their success or failure in the tourney. Tune into the Buckeyes. You might be watching a future Warrior.
Power Rankings: Who should the Warriors draft?
For each draft piece, these rankings will be updated with new additions. Wagner could shoot up to the first round, but both have been moved down the list given current mock drafts. Hachimura is still a complete wildcard.
1. Moritz Wagner- Michigan, junior, power forward (first or second rounder)
2. Keita Bates-Diop- Ohio State, junior, forward (first or second rounder)
3. Jalen Brunson- Villanova, junior, point guard (first or second rounder)
4. Shake Milton- SMU- junior, point guard (first or second rounder)
5. Bonzie Colson- Notre Dame, senior, forward (second rounder)
6. Rui Hachimura- Gonzaga, sophomore, forward (first or second rounder)