Presser Bullets: Jake Diebler Says Ohio State’s Final Roster Construction Remains “Fluid,” Aaron Bradshaw Brings “Goofy” Personality to Buckeyes

By Andy Anders on July 9, 2024 at 6:12 pm

Jake Diebler welcomed his fourth child with his wife Jordyn over the weekend, but that didn't slow offseason preparations for his first year as Ohio State basketball head coach.

Although summer workouts are in full swing for the Buckeyes, their roster isn't finalized yet with one scholarship left available. Diebler said Tuesday that things remain “fluid” on that front, leaving the door open to the possibility that the Buckeyes could still add multiple players despite having only one scholarship available, but he enjoys the cohesiveness that's already forming with the new pieces on his team.

Wing Evan Mahaffey and center Aaron Bradshaw also met with the media on Tuesday to discuss their offseason progression, Bradshaw's “goofy” personality and his decision to transfer from Kentucky to Ohio State.

Jake Diebler

  • On how the summer has gone thus far: "It's been great. We haven't been as healthy as I've preferred, we've had a couple of nagging injuries. ... We've introduced some offensive things, some defensive concepts ... but most importantly I think some chemistry is being formed."
  • As new players develop, Diebler's been impressed with the leadership on his squad. "What I've been really impressed with is our group, collectively, has figured out ways to use their voice even when they're out of drills."
  • Diebler has challenged Bradshaw to progress as a shooter and distributor this offseason. "Shooting threes ... we want him to do that, it creates space for us, creates driving lanes for guys. ... Our forward are going to have the ball in their hands in the middle third sometimes and have to make decisions."
  • On the experience of welcoming his fourth child into the world: "It's like a blur after two, honestly. I'm just fortunate to have married the woman I married."
  • Basketball IQ is a strength for both of Ohio State's freshmen, Diebler said. "They both love Ohio State ... they came here ready to go, ready to work. They have freshman moments, freshman days, but I've been impressed with Colin's physicality. ... Juni's ability to get a shot off and do that, create space for himself, has been impressive too."
  • On how the team is improving at rebounding: "We recruited to that, certainly. (Bradshaw) will help with that, Sean Stewart. ... Evan will be an important part for that moving forward ... he had some big rebounding games (last year). ... Some of it's a mentality too ... it has the potential to be a real strength for us."
  • On how he envisions the rest of the roster taking shape with one scholarship available: "I think we'll be able to speak more specifically on that here in the near future, it's fluid. ... As we have looked to finalize things, we've looked to build around the pieces that we have and complement the guys that we have because we're really excited about this group."
  • Asked if there could be more than one addition, Diebler again said that will be "fluid."
  • On what he pictures when he thinks of what a Jake Diebler team should look like: "I want people to see an aggressive, confident, tough team and a team that has fun. ... We're gonna operate with a sense of joy and pride in what we do. ... There will be pace involved in that certainly, that's in my DNA, that's well-documented."

Aaron Bradshaw

  • On why he chose Ohio State: "It was mainly a family thing. ... Coach Diebler is building a family around this program in the short time he's been here. ... Just him doing that and showing that he cares about his players ... where else would I want to go?"
  • Bradshaw is described by himself and others as fun-loving, and he's not afraid to wear a near-constant smile. "It's OK to be different, it's OK to smile. ... It's alright to be goofy, it's alright to be funny, it's alright to have fun." He added that it boosts his on-court energy a lot as well.
  • On what he learned at Kentucky: "How to stay poised. I learned a lot of patience there. That just shaped me into the person I am now, basically."
  • On what he's taken from "The past is the past ... I'm here now. I've just got to build better habits, new habits."
  • Bradshaw and Stewart were both McDonald's All-Americans and as such have played together before. "It's crazy that we're teammates now. ... I'm happy that he's my teammate now because he's a hard worker, just like the rest of the guys."

Evan Mahaffey

  • On Bradshaw's bubbly personality: "You see it a lot, just from his talk constantly ... just giving energy to others all the time."
  • On whether he's enjoyed trying to incorporate a perimeter threat into his game: "It's something I love to do. I've mixed it in my whole life, but in high school I was on the perimeter a lot more. ... I love being challenged in that way, too."
  • On why he came back: "The family aspect. Being from Ohio, seeing Ohio State as a program ... being a part of that and being able to contribute in a positive way."
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