Ohio State sophomore Jon Diebler is stepping up as a leader for a young team
~ By Kendra Lee, Ohio State Athletics Communications
Leadership qualities in an athlete are highly desired by coaches in all variety of sport. Whether they are inherent or come with experience, it is essential to have an athlete with the ability to lead by example on and off the court.
Over the last year, Ohio State sophomore guard Jon Diebler has come to grasp what his role is on a team that only has a handful of members with NCAA experience. He has not only worked on his ability to perform on the court during the off season, but also worked on his leadership skills.
“I put a lot of focus on becoming a better teammate, so I can help everyone around me get better,” Diebler said. “We’re a young team this year with a lot of newcomers, so it is important for me to step up and be a leader for this team.”
During his freshman campaign, Diebler focused on learning what it takes to be successful at the level Ohio State plays at. Watching the upperclassmen and being attentive to what the coaches had to say, helped him realize what is important to thrive as an athlete.
“One key lesson I learned from last year is to pay more attention to the little details I never realized were important before I came to Ohio State,” Diebler said. “However, the most important thing I have learned is to take every day one step at a time and to progress and focus on the day at hand instead of constantly looking ahead to the future.”
This season, the Upper Sandusky native has taken what he has learned over the last year to heart and sees the importance of sharing that with the rest of the squad.
“I hope to help the others see how I and the other returners put what we’ve learned into action on the court,” Diebler said. “We have big goals for this season and we want to keep getting better every day and work towards a Big Ten championship and an NCAA berth. My role on the team is to do what it takes to help us win.”
Diebler’s leadership qualities have been developing since he was a young kid running around the gym. With a father who coaches and two brothers and mother who play, he has been surrounded by the game and attributes his success to the people who know him the best.
“My family has had a major impact on my basketball career,” Diebler said. “I grew up in the gym and have been surrounded by sports my entire life because of my family. My brothers and my parents are such great people with great qualities. I’ve always wanted to become like them.”
As the youngest of three boys, Diebler has always had someone to learn from and work hard to emulate.
“I really look up to my entire family because I’m the youngest and have the most to learn,” Diebler said. “My brother Jake plays at Valparaiso and plays the game extremely hard and fearless. I’ve always wanted to be like him in that aspect of basketball.”
Not only does he recognize the impact his background and family have been on his abilities, but it is also noticed by his coaches and teammates.
“With the kind of background Jon has, it is apparent he enjoys being in the gym and working hard,” Brandon Miller, Ohio State assistant coach, said. “That has been carried with him from junior high to here at Ohio State. That drive is contagious for a team. As a coach, you want a guy like Jon on your team because it brings everyone else to the gym with him.”
The combinations of drive and positive influences in his life have given Diebler what it takes to become the leader this young team is looking for.
“He is an extremely hard worker and gym rat,” Miller said. “He is the first to arrive and the last to leave. He leads by example and is a major asset to the team.”
“I want to really focus on being a good teammate and being someone the guys can trust and look up to,” Diebler said. “I want to lead by example and vocally to do what I can to help us win.”