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The Timberwolves got a steal in drafting Ohio State’s Keita Bates-Diop

KBD might not be the star he was at OSU when he gets to Minnesota, but he has the abilities to be a contributor on the next level.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Second Round-Ohio State vs Gonzaga Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

“For me personally, I think this is a home run pick (especially considering the spot he was selected at). As mentioned above, Bates-Diop was pegged throughout the draft process as a late first rounder, so this was clearly a value pick by the front office.”

-Kyle Theige, Cannis Hoopus

Nearly every single NBA mock draft published before Thursday night’s festivities had the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, Keita Bates-Diop, going in the mid-to-late first round. Ultimately, each one proved to be wrong, as he ended up being selected 48th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

In the first round, the T-wolves took Georgia Tech guard Josh Okogie before KBD fell into their laps in the second. Tough-as-nails head coach Tom Thibodeau has a talented, young roster that should benefit from adding these two rookies. Minnesota won an incredible, overtime thriller in April, which was— in every meaningful way— a playoff play-in game against the Denver Nuggets.

So, with players like Jimmy Butler, Karl-Anthony Towns, and Andrew Wiggins at the core of the team, KBD has the opportunity to fit into a talented roster and to find a role that truly suits him, rather than having to do it all and shoulder an incredible burden like he did for the Buckeyes last season.

Bates-Diop will likely be called upon to play a stretch-forward position utilizing his size and shooting ability to extend the floor and make room for the T-wolves more multi-dimensional scorers. He could also make himself valuable on the glass. KAT finished the season fourth in the NBA with 12.3 board per game, and if KBD is able to get consistent minutes, he should be able to lighten his load in that department.

One of the concerns about Bates-Diop is that he is one of the oldest prospects in the draft. Unlike in the NFL, NBA front offices draft primarily on potential. Since KBD already has three+ seasons of college ball under his belt, the assumption is that he won’t have a tremendous amount of upside remaining once he gets to the league. However, with his size and shooting ability, if he is able to put on a little more muscle, and increase his motor even slightly, he should be a contributor on a solid playoff team for years to come.

“The University of Michigan is getting a $50 million payout from the Big Ten in 2018, according to a financial presentation the school gave on Thursday.”

-Alex Kirshner, SBNation

I’m not going to use this story as another opening to bemoan the absurd amount of money that universities and athletic departments bring in on the backs of unpaid athletes— I’ve done that plenty of times already; instead, I will take this opportunity to congratulate Big Ten commissioner Jim Delaney.

For better or for worse, Delaney is a visionary like few before him in college sports. From leading the way on instant replay to conference expansion to television deals, the Big Ten product— football especially— is better because of his nearly 30 years of leadership.

While one could rightly argue that Rutgers hasn’t exactly brought a tremendous amount to the on-field product, the addition of the Scarlet Knights has been more than worthwhile when it comes to the bottom line for the conference and its member institutions. The inclusion of the New York/New Jersey media market is partially responsible for Michigan (and presumably other B1G universities, including Ohio State) bringing in what would be a record $50+ million in its share of conference revenue.

While the NCAA will likely need to eventually address the rising momentum towards compensating players more fairly, in the meantime, seeing that most athletic departments don’t turn a profit when all is said and done, this extra revenue should go a long way to helping sustain non-revenue-producing sports, which we can all agree is a good thing.

So, thanks Commissioner Delaney, and thanks Rutgers.

“Now Barrett is gone... and head coach Urban Meyer must find a team leader, or leaders, to replace the quarterback.”

-Patrick Murphy, 247Sports

The headline of Murphy’s article is “Who will replace J.T. Barrett as Ohio State’s leader?” and with all due respect to Murphy and the Buckeyes vying for the leadership role, the correct answer is “No one.”

Murphy points out that fifth-year seniors like Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin could step up, as much is expected of the receiving corps this season. In fact, Campbell has already been selected to fill Barrett’s shoes when it comes to pre-game speeches. However, no matter how passionate and fiery Campbell is, he won’t be able to shoulder the leadership onus that Barrett did the past few seasons.

That, of course, is not a knock on Campbell, but simply a reflection of the unique and historic status that #16 occupied at Ohio State. You don’t become the program’s only three-time captain by chance or default. You don’t become the most decorated quarterback in OSU’s storied annuls because you are simply the next man up.

While I am not a Barrett on-field apologist by any stretch of the imagination, it is hard to argue his proverbial intangibles; in-game IQ, leadership, and wealth of experience specifically. So, to expect any one person to seamlessly take over his leadership responsibilities is foolish, especially from any position other than quarterback.

Perhaps Campbell, McLaurin, new QB Dwayne Haskins, and any number of offensive and/or defensive linemen could combine to assume the duties. However, having the culmination of all of Barrett’s history and experience in the most important player on the field is not going to be able to be replicated. Therefore, if this fall’s team is going to meet the lofty expectations that many have set for it, it will require a team effort.