Feb. 26, 2018
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State redshirt junior Keita Bates-Diop has been named Big Ten Player of the Year by conference coaches and media, the conference office announced Monday. The forward becomes the Buckeyes’ seventh Big Ten Player of the Year and the first since Evan Turner in 2010.
Bates-Diop leads the 24-7 Buckeyes and ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring at 19.2 points per game and is tied for second at 8.9 rebounds per contest. The Normal, Illinois, native also sits sixth in the conference with 52 blocked shots in a team-high 32.7 minutes per game. In 18 Big Ten games, Bates-Diop has averaged 19.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game while blocking 30 shots. His 12 double-doubles on the season are tied for second in the conference and the Buckeyes are 11-1 in 2017-18 when he records a double-double.
Bates-Diop has stepped up when the Buckeyes needed him most this season, going for 32 points, seven boards and three steals in an 80-64 win over top-ranked Michigan State Jan. 7. He then went for 18 points and 11 rebounds while scoring the game-winning putback with 2.8 seconds left in a 64-63 win at No. 3 Purdue Feb. 7. Bates-Diop also scored a career-high 35 points in a 75-67 win over Illinois Feb. 4 and went for 24 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in a career-high 45 minutes as the Buckeyes closed the regular season with an 80-78 double-overtime win at Indiana Feb. 23.
A member of the USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Player of the Year watch list and a Naismith Player of the Year and Julius Erving Award candidate, Bates-Diop was named Big Ten Player of the Week four times this season and earned Naismith Trophy, USBWA and NBCSports.com National Player of the Week honors Jan. 8. The 28th player in Ohio State history to eclipse 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds, Bates-Diop sits 38th in program history with 1,195 career points.