Ohio State Basketball: Keita Bates-Diop, Chris Holtmann earn Big Ten Honors

WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - FEBRUARY 07: Keita Bates-Diop /

After a season of overachieving by the Ohio State basketball team, two well deserved awards have been earned.

This won’t come as a surprise to those who’ve been following the Ohio State basketball team all season. Earlier tonight, Keita-Bates Diop was named Big Ten Player of the Year and first-year head coach Chris Holtmann was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.

Bates-Diop was also named a unanimous all-conference first team member. The rest of the first-team consists of Miles Bridges (Michigan State), Tony Carr (Penn State), Carsen Edwards (Purdue), and Ethan Happ (Purdue).

Other Buckeyes earning awards were Jae’Sean Tate (all-conference second team) and Kaleb Wesson (all-conference freshmen first team). Graduate transfer Andrew Dakich took home a nice honor as well, earning a Big Ten sportsmanship award.

Keita Bates-Diop’s junior year was one to remember as it earned him a very high honor in college basketball. He finished second in the conference in scoring, averaging 19.2 points per game, shooting 48.4-percent from the field. He also finished 3rd in the conference in rebounding grabbing 8.9 rebounds per contest.

Although he’s cooled a tad down the stretch, it’s impossible to imagine Ohio State’s success without the junior forward. Some of his made shots in big moments proved he was as valuable to his team as any player in college basketball this season.

However, Bates-Diop wasn’t the only stand-out for the Ohio State program. 

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Chris Holtmann’s debut season proved marvelous. He swung the Buckeyes from a 17-15 (7-11) regular season finish a year ago into an impressive 24-7 (15-3) club. Tack on no bad losses and wins over No. 2 Michigan State and at No. 8 Purdue to his resume.

Upon his arrival, the Buckeyes hadn’t ranked in the AP Top 25 in two consecutive seasons; they’re currently No. 13 in the poll. Furthermore, he’s set to take these Buckeyes to their first NCAA Tournament since the 2014-2015 season.

While both are Naismith Finalists for their respective award, Holtmann positioned himself well to take home national Coach of the Year honors.

The 2017-2018 regular season showed a Buckeyes team headed in the right direction. Their first-year head coach worked with players he primarily didn’t recruit, showing a well-poised bunch. Meanwhile, a group of mostly underachieving players focused to form one of college basketball’s most dangerous teams. A year like this just doesn’t come around very often.

Next: Buckeyes need Keita Bates-Diop refreshed

Congratulations to all of the Buckeyes who earned awards but especially to Keita Bates-Diop and Chris Holtmann, each of whom simply had remarkable years. Awards are fun, but now it’s time to focus on the task at hand. Making a run in the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments.