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Ohio State 2017-18 Preview: Can Keita Bates-Diop Lead A Young Group of Wings For The Buckeyes?

There are big questions and opportunities for Ohio State’s wings this season.

NCAA Basketball: Florida Atlantic at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

In the weeks leading up to the 2017-18 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing its preview series breaking down each Big Ten team. These will come in a set of series previewing the overall team, the team’s backcourt, wings, and big men, and the team’s schedule. Each post will take a look at its top in-depth and give predictions on the upcoming season.

Today's edition of the 'BTPowerhouse Preview Series' we will take a look at the wings for Ohio State. New coach Chris Holtmann has some questions on the perimeter, but talent to work with as well.

'BTPowerhouse Preview'- Ohio State Wings

  • 2016-'17 All-Big Ten Qualifiers: None
  • Departures: Marc Loving
  • Additions: Kyle Young, Musa Jallow
  • Top Player: Keita Bates-Diop

The loss of Loving could hurt, but Ohio State will welcome Bates-Diop back after a leg injury took him down last season. The Buckeyes will also welcome two talented wings as part of the 23rd ranked recruiting class according to 247Sports. Young will provide shooting, while Jallow could offer solid perimeter defense.

Let’s break it down further below.

Starting Lineup

The loss of Bates-Diop last season was maybe the crushing strike that sunk the 2016-’17 campaign. The talented 6-foot-7 wing was plagued with a leg injury all season and only appeared in nine games last season. Partly due to the injury, Bates-Diop was inconsistent in the time he played. After a sophomore season averaging almost 12 points a game, Bates-Diop’s scoring average dropped to 9.7 points per game. In five of nine contests, Bates-Diop put up single digit numbers. His three-point percentage dropped 12 percent. After the conference opener against Illinois, Bates-Diop was shut down for the remainder of the season.

This season offers a fresh start under a new coach and an opportunity to lay the foundation for future Ohio State success. There might not be many victories this season, but Bates-Diop can firmly establish himself as the team’s leader and go-to scorer. If the Buckeyes can get that out of Bates-Diop this season, then a 2018 class that is currently no. 13 in 247’s composite rankings could get Ohio State back to the top tier in the Big Ten sooner than expected.

Bench Rotation

There are some talented youngsters looking to make an impact this season in Columbus as well.

Due to limited depth, Ohio State could turn to two freshmen, Kyle Young and Musa Jallow, for reserve wing duties.

Young is a top-100 floor spacer that originally committed to Butler before following Holtmann over to Ohio State. Expect Young to be a solid four year contributor, who in year one, could provide some scoring punch off the bench. If he can get acclimated to the strength and athleticism of the Big Ten, expect Young to play often this season.

Jallow could find the floor because of his athleticism. Jallow, ranked no. 147 in 247’s composite rankings, committed to the Buckeyes originally part of the 2018 class, but reclassified to 2017. Shooting might be an issue initally, but Jallow can provide perimeter defense for a Buckeyes team that gave up the second most three-pointers in the Big Ten conference play last season.

Overall

There are many questions about the wing rotation for Ohio State this season. The Buckeyes lost one of their top scorers, Marc Loving, but return talented wing Keita Bates-Diop from an injury-riddled 2016-’17 season. Questions around Bates-Diop’s ability to stay healthy and his ability as a team leader could be present throughout the season.

The youth movement could take hold on the bench. Freshmen Kyle Young and Musa Jallow are talented players who can earn minutes this season, but counting on consistent production out of freshmen in the Big Ten is a tough situation. The best case scenario for the Buckeyes is a healthy season for Bates-Diop and the freshmen steadily improving throughout the season to build for bigger things in the future.