No. 27 junior Bates-Diop to Ohio State

Combo forward Keita Bates-Diop (Bloomington, Ill./University High) has committed to Ohio State over offers from Purdue, Michigan and Michigan State. Bates-Diop is rated the No. 27 prospect in the ESPN 60 and becomes Thad Matta’s first pledge in the 2014 class.

Bates-Diop saw his recruiting skyrocket after a great spring and all throughout the July evaluation period. He also enjoyed a tremendous outing this fall at the Under Armour Grind Session. Bates-Diop took a number of unofficial visits in recent months, so he had some great comparisons before coming to a final decision with the Buckeyes.

This is important for Ohio State because Matta has continued to have a strong presence in the fertile recruiting ground of Illinois. Former Buckeye and current 76er Evan Turner and current players Lenzelle Smith Jr. and Sam Thompson are also natives of Illinois.

At 6-foot-7 and 190 pounds, Bates-Diop is a very skilled and smart frontcourt talent who can score inside and out. He is an excellent straight-line driver, a good passer from the high and low post areas and rebounds in and out of his area. He can defend both forward positions and creates matchup problems for the opposition.

Expect Matta to take full advantage of Bates-Diop's versatility within the Buckeyes’ attack. In transition, Bates-Diop can rim run and sprint the wings. In the half court set, he will be tough to handle in the post and in pick-and-pop situations. He also has the basketball IQ and passing ability to read the defense and deliver the ball to an open teammate on time and on target.

The Buckeyes are off to a fast start in the Class of 2014 by landing one of fastest rising players in not only the Midwest but the country.