What Does The Loss Of Keita Bates-Diop Mean For Ohio State?

What Does The Loss Of Keita Bates-Diop Mean For Ohio State?

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What Does The Loss Of Keita Bates-Diop Mean For Ohio State?


The 2018 Big Ten Player of the Year has officially declared for the NBA. What does it mean for Ohio State?


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What Does The Loss Of Keita Bates-Diop Mean For Ohio State?

It wasn’t exactly a surprise, but Keita Bates-Diop announced his decision to forgo his senior season, hire an agent, and declare for the NBA draft. That means the roller coaster has left the loading platform and there’s no turning back now.

And although the news is a bit sour for Buckeye fans, it was the right decision at the right time for a guy who’s draft stock is unlikely to get much higher than where it is right now.

It gives the coaching staff time to formulate and execute on a plan to keep this thing between the guardrails.

But where does it leave Ohio State? The program unexpectedly got its bearings back this year by finishing in a tie for second in the Big Ten — punching its way into the NCAA tournament at least a couple of years ahead of schedule.

Turning Losses To Gains

First and foremost, OSU lost its most dynamic player. Bates-Diop led Ohio State in points and rebounds per game, and was really the only player on the team that could go out and get his own shot. He was also an underrated defender with great length and that ended up also leading the team in blocked shots.

All of that leaves a huge hole in the Ohio State roster next year. Yeah, the Buckeyes still return 43% of its scoring with C. J Jackson and Kaleb Wesson the most likely back-fills, but they were inconsistent at best last year.

The talent is there for those two to take on a more vital role, but it won’t come without some more development and confidence over the off-season. Chris Holtmann and company will need those two to step up, or it could be a long, long year next year.

Diversifying The Portfolio

The official loss of Bates-Diop does also open up an extra scholarship. With the incoming class of four freshman, and the now known departures of  Bates-Diop to go with seniors Andrew Dakich, Kam Williams and Jae’Sean Tate, that leaves two scholarships available still for next season.

Holtmann no doubt needs another ball handler, so he’ll be scouring additional freshman/JUCO or transfer ranks to try and nail that down, but he may also now go after another player that can be inserted into the lineup immediately that can add some scoring punch to the lineup from the four or five spot.

Other sophomores and juniors on the roster are also going to be asked to separate themselves. Guys like Musa Jallow, Kyle Young and Micha Potter have the opportunity of a lifetime in front of them. All possess skills that are raw and untapped — skills that have yet to really find their way to the next level. Ohio State needs at least one or two of those diamonds to come out of the rough next year.

And then there’s this.

Making New Investments

Time will tell, but the incoming freshman class might just be the most important class in Holtmann’s ultimate tenure at Ohio State. One might have thought it was last year, but the veterans stepped up to act as the ointment in the transition wound that was expected. The program may now feel the sting of the subpar recruiting classes Thad Matta reigned in leading up to his dismissal.

Look for shooting guard Luther Muhammad, or 6-9 forward Jaedon LeDee to get a serious look at cracking into some significant playing time immediately. Both could be staples in the future state of the program, but their impact might be needed as early as this winter.

There’s just no way around it. There are possibly more unknowns heading into the 2018-19 season than what there were coming into this one.

And just like this past campaign, some unexpected pieces are going to need to fall into place to make next year’s puzzle complete despite the expected twists and turns.

Let the roller coaster ride begin in earnest.

 

Contact/Follow @BuckeyeWire for continuing coverage of Ohio State news, notes, and opinion.

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