KEITA BATES-DIOP 2018 NBA Draft Scouting Report
COLLEGE: OHIO STATE
WEIGHT: 235 POUNDS
POSITION: SMALL FORWARD
PROJECTED DRAFT POSITION: EARLY TO MIDDLE OF THE SECOND ROUND WITH A CHANCE TO RISE (ONE OF THE MOST IMPROVED PLAYERS IN THE COUNTRY THIS YEAR)
Keita Bates-Diop has been brilliant throughout his junior season at Ohio State University. After a couple of games during the first week of February, the junior officially threw his name into the race for the 2017-2018 John R. Wooden award, given to the nation’s top men’s college basketball player.
In a home match-up against the University of Illinois on Super Bowl Sunday, Bates-Diop put up a career-high 35 points and 13 rebounds. Just about 72 hours later, Bates-Diop had 18 points and 11 rebounds in Mackey Arena, when the Buckeyes upset then-#3 ranked Purdue University.
By the end of that same month, Bates-Diop was named to the All-Big 10 First Team, and the 2018 Big Ten Player of the Year as well. Not bad for a guy who averaged less than 10 points per game last year.
Coming out of high school, Bates-Diop was a top 25 recruit, but struggled to get on the court early in his time in Columbus, logging less than 10 minutes a game as a freshman. His sophomore season was much better, as he saw his scoring totals jump to just under 15 points per game; there was even the idea that he would declare for the 2017 NBA Draft at that time, which clearly didn’t happen. Then came the dip in his junior year.
This year, Bates-Diop’s numbers have jumped to 19.2 points per game, along with just under nine points, two blocks, and two assists per game. Including the win against the Illini, he has two games with 30-plus points, and 12 games with 20-plus points.
The question for NBA teams will be around what position they can best utilize Bates-Diop’s skill-set. The question is whether he’s something of a “tweener” at the three or the four position, considering he’s a better low post scorer than he has a shooter, but might not have the height and bulk to play inside, or the shooting to be a true wing. Similarly, he’s not really a slasher, as he doesn’t have that explosive of a first step to beat guys off the dribble, and hasn’t really shown the array of moves to finish around the basket in traffic.
However, Bates-Diop’s intangibles and intensity should more than compensate for those deficiencies. He’s a very good rebounder, and is surprisingly deft at blocking shots for a guy with his height (or lack thereof). When he wants to be, he can be a very good defensive player, though he is prone to making a few mistakes from time to time. Still, he can lock up players who are of a similar size to him (or smaller), guarding them up and down the court.
The Buckeyes have used Bates-Diop as something of a combo forward, and it will be up to his future NBA team to utilize him the same way: allowing him to space the floor, and create shots against opponents trying to switch. He could carve out a niche for himself as bench player and defensive specialist if he can refine his otherwise broad skill-set. He has without a doubt raised his stock at the perfect time as the 2018 NBA Draft is only a few months away.
BELOW ARE HIGHLIGHTS OF KEITA BATES-DIOP
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