Straight out of Bloomington, IL, Keita Bates-Diop has proven to be a long, athletic wing player who is capable of running the floor and shooting with efficiency. His tall frame and long wingspan allow him to shoot over opposing players and give him the potential to be an above-average defender.
At 6'7' and 190 pounds, Bates-Diop is a young combo forward with a wide variety of skills that will translate well for the Buckeyes this season. For a team that seemed to struggle shooting last year, Bates-Diop's elite offensive talents will help give a boost to the Buckeyes' offense. Having already asserted himself as a scorer in the Bahamas, Bates-Diop could have an immediate impact on the team.
A Look Back:
In high school, Bates-Diop was able to use his superior athleticism and long arms to finish over defenders on a regular basis. Whether slashing to the basket or shooting over opposing players, he was able to score at will on many occasions. This offensive talent translated well on the team's trip to the Bahamas. In the two games the team played, he shot a combined 11-21 for 34 points, totaled 14 rebounds, and led the team in scoring once. Here's a quick look at what Bates-Diop is capable of on the floor:
Outlook for 2014-2015:
Because of his offensive skill set and solid performance in the Bahamas, it will be tough for Coach Matta to keep Bates-Diop off the court this year. Although he does have a slender frame that leaves him vulnerable to stronger opponents, Bates-Diop's effective shooting and ability to spread the floor could benefit the Buckeyes' offense immediately.
However, this year the Buckeyes will have a glut of talent out on the wing and that could work against Bates-Diop receiving a lot of playing time early on in the season. Sam Thompson and Marc Loving play similar positions and are likely to start off the year ahead of Bates-Diop in the lineup. It is unlikely that he will get any starting minutes this year, however, he can quickly become a strong offensive contributor off the bench throughout the season.
Best Case Scenario:
Bates-Diop capitalizes early on his playing time off the bench and proves to be a reliable scorer for the second unit. He effectively uses his long frame to finish over defenders and creates steals in the lane by remaining active on defense. Bates-Diop can be used at either the 3 or the 4, depending on the size of the lineup taking the floor, so his versatility could help bolster his minutes throughout the season. In order to solidify regular minutes off the bench, he is going to need to separate himself from players like Marc Loving and Jae'Sean Tate. The best case scenario for Bates-Diop this year is to become a reliable offensive contributor off the bench.
Worst Case Scenario:
As previously mentioned, Ohio State is not hurting at the wing this year. If Bates-Diop doesn't separate himself with his play, he could get lost in a pool of talented wing players. If he struggles to see his shots fall early, it could prevent him from developing into the quality bench contributor that he projects to be this year.