Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop announced Monday that he will be declaring for the 2018 NBA draft.
Bates-Diop was the focal point of the Buckeyes basketball team this year en route to winning the Big Ten Player of the Year Award posting impressive stats after coming off injury last season.
The forward finished his final season with Ohio State averaging 19.8 points per game to go along with 8.7 rebounds.
Though his statistical numbers and impact on the court were second to none on the team, his season didn’t end the way he wanted it to as the Buckeyes fell in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Gonzaga.
The impact that Bates-Diop had for his team on the court was impressive to watch this season as he was the anchor offensively and carried the team to victories on more than one occasion.
Bates-Diop will be leaving a hole for Ohio State hoops as the leader of an offense and the kind of player who could take over for stretches at a time during a game.
As the Buckeyes are left to answer questions after his departure, Bates-Diop will be headed to the NBA accompanied by questions about his style of play and what sort of player he will be at the next level.
As a 6’7″ forward Bates-Diop plays larger than a typical small-forward because of his lengthy arm span which stands at well over seven feet. He is undersized for a power forward but his arm length puts him in much better position to defend other power forwards his size.
In a vastly more position-less league than in years past, where players like Giannis Antetokounmpo can play anywhere from point guard to power forward, Bates-Diop’ athleticism will certainly find a place in the league.
He’s a knock down shooter with enough length and athleticism to become a great defender at the next level. His ability to hit outside shots will certainly play in today’s trigger happy 3-point league. NBA teams could use his length and athleticism to their advantage on both offense and defense.
As good as Bates-Diop was this season he has a lot of improvement left to do, as his 2017 breakout season was the first taste of his star power under a national spotlight post injury. Given more years to develop and be coached, like he did under first year Head Coach Chris Holtmann, Bates-Diop should flourish.
Teams that need or could utilize an athletic stretch four who can knock down outside shots, and has room to grow should seriously consider Bates-Diop as an option in the draft.
Where he lands is anyone’s guess, but expect him to be selected somewhere in the mid to late first round.