Today, the Big Ten men’s basketball Player of the Year, Keita Bates-Diop, announced that he will forego his final year of eligibility, and will make himself available for the NBA Draft.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported early this morning that per sources, Keita will be entering the draft. It’s unclear if Keita would consider withdrawing from the draft after the combine (like Trevor Thompson in 2015), though I certainly wouldn’t expect it.
Bates-Diop is coming off of a season in which he led the Buckeyes with both 19.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. Those numbers were good enough to lead and finish third in the Big Ten Conference respectively. He was also sixth in blocked shots in the conference (1.6/g), and was tied for seventh in minutes played per game (33.1).
That last stat seemed to cause Bates-Diop issues down the stretch, as after a tenacious first two and a half months of the season, the responsibility of being the Buckeyes’ leader on both ends of the floor seemed to get to him; especially considering the condensed schedule that the B1G employed this year to accommodate the conference tournament’s move to Madison Square Garden a week earlier than normal.
Following the second round loss to No. 4-seed Gonzaga, Bates-Diop is ranks No. 34 in scoring at OSU with 1,272 points, and his 672 points in 2017-18 ties him with Gary Bradds (1962-63) for the 10th highest single-season scoring output in program history.
KBD missed all but nine games of the 2016-2017 season, which allowed him to receive a medical redshirt, preserving the year of eligibility. Therefore, even though he has been on campus for four years, he has only officially played in three of those years.
Bates-Diop has already received a degree in Economics from Ohio State, and participated in last month’s Senior Night, along with Jae’Sean Tate, Kam Williams, and Andrew Dakich.
Draft projections for the 6-foot-7 forward vary depending on the analyst, but the general consensus seems to be that he will be a late-first round pick in this year’s draft.
Though collegiate players have until April 22 at 11:59 p.m. ET to officially declare for the NBA Draft, unlike in pro football, as players go through the draft evaluation process, they have the ability to withdraw, and return to college, assuming that they do not sign with an agent, or do anything else that would jeopardize their NCAA eligibility. Players have until June 11 at 5 p.m. ET to withdraw before the draft on June 21.