Bates-Diop to bring versatility to Buckeyes

Ohio State went into enemy territory and nabbed a power forward who add a lot flexibility to the Buckeyes' roster in two years.

What Keita Bates-Diop (Bloomington, Ill./University) will bring to the Buckeyes shows up beyond the stat sheets as he can spread the floor and cause mismatches virtually everywhere.

The 6-foot-7 high school junior, who committed to Ohio State on Sunday, is ranked No. 27 in the ESPN 60. With touch around the rim, he uses his height in the low post to rise above defenders and is a marksman as a passer.

“I bring a lot of versatility,” Bates-Diop said. “Coach [Thad] Matta feels I can play a lot of different positions.

“He sees me as an athletic individual that can run up and down the floor. I can pressure and impact the game.”

The Associated Press first-team Class 2A All-State selection averaged 13.6 points and 4.6 rebounds per game last season.

His 7-foot-3 wingspan also makes him an incredible resource defensively. Last season as a sophomore, he scored 16 points and pulled down nine rebounds with some clutch buckets in a 55-52 state semifinal win over Rockford Lutheran.

What Matta might have liked the most about Bates-Diop, however, has nothing to do with his basketball skills.

“They feel like I’m already part of the team,” he said. “I’ve talked to them and the way they play and how we feel about each other is all good. I’ve always liked them since a young age. It’s a great fit.”

Bates-Diop turned down offers from Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue to become a member of the Buckeyes.

When he gets to Columbus, he likely will join current Ohio State underclassmen LaQuinton Ross, Sam Thompson and Jake Lorbach at the forward position.