Keita Bates-Diop (Bloomington-Normal, Ill./University High School) is a long, athletic sophomore small forward with a 7-foot-1 wing span and very good perimeter skills that have been improving at a steady rate this fall and winter. High-major programs like Purdue, Northwestern and DePaul are already jockeying for position by extending scholarship offers. Michigan, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Tennessee and Illinois are interested too.
"I am looking for good players, coaches and student atmosphere in college," Bates-Diop said. "I Just want to be around good people"
Bates-Diop who runs with the Illinois Wolves on the AAU/travel circuit can get to the rim, has a good midrange game, is a solid 3-point shooter and a willing passer. His length is a great advantage disrupting passing lanes, on the offensive glass and as a perimeter shot-blocker. Bates-Diop needs to add strength to his 6-7, 175-pound frame and must work to tighten up his handle, but his talent and upside simply jump right out at you.
"I can impact the game in different ways on both ends of the floor just by being an all-around player," Bates-Diop said. "I am going to work on adding a post-up game so I can take advantage of smaller perimeter defenders."
He is averaging about 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 3.0 steals per game.
"His size, length and work ethic are just a few things that make him special! He will lock himself in the gym in order to get better," Illinois Wolves coach Mike Mullins said. "He just keeps making positive jumps"
"Keita has come such a long way over the last year. He is a long and athletic forward who has continued to work and he has the drive to reach his full potential. If he continues to improve at the rate he has it could be scary! His upside is considerable. I was impressed with his improved handles, shooting and passing," said Scott Burgess, who is a scout and recruiting analyst for chicagohoops.com.
"He has great work ethic as well. Keita ranks as one of the top five prospects in the state of Illinois in the Class of 2014."
When it comes to improving and expanding his game, Bates-Diop has displayed the work ethic and love for the game that has taken his recruiting to the next level and he will be at the top of many recruitng list this spring and summer.