At this time last year, Keita Bates-Diop was watching from the bench as his team limped to an 11th place finish in the Big Ten. Now, he is the conference player of the year after leading Ohio State to a second place finish in league play.
Bates-Diop was named Monday by both coaches and media as the Big Ten Men's Basketball Player of the Year.
Bates-Diop averaged 19.2 points and 8.9 rebounds per game in 2017-18 after missing the majority of the previous season with a leg injury. His scoring and rebounding numbers were both good for second in the Big Ten, while he led the Buckeyes to a 24-7, 15-3 record during his player of the year campaign.
The Normal, Ill. native was a four-time Big Ten Player of the Week award recipient and recorded a pair of 30-point games in his redshirt junior season. His first came on Jan. 7 when he dropped 32 in an 80-64 upset win over No. 1 Michigan State, before he scored a career-high 35 in a blowout win over Illinois on Feb. 4. He also recorded 12 double-doubles this season, including seven in Big Ten play.
Bates-Diop becomes the first Buckeye to win the conference player of the year since Evan Turner took home the award in 2009-10. Turner also won the Naismith Player of the Year award that season, given to the best player in all of Div. I college basketball.
Bates-Diop was also named as a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection, while Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann was named Big Ten Coach of the Year.