Five Things You Should Know About Keita Bates-Diop
With the No. 48 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves drafted wing Keita Bates-Diop out of Ohio State. We’ll be dishing out plenty of content highlighting KBD and fellow draftee Josh Okogie throughout the next few weeks, but here are five quick things you should know about Bates-Diop.
1. This was a steal of a pick
This might seem like more of an opinion and that’s because it is. But Woj doesn't follow the rules and neither do I.
Bates-Diop was supposed to go much higher than he did. Look at any mock drafts. I just looked at eight and Bates-Diop was in the 15-34 range in all of them. When the Wolves picked No. 20, Bates-Diop is a guy who we had on our radar. He was the first prospect we wrote a profile prior to the draft. Coincidence? Yes, probably.
In his post-draft press conference, Wolves POB and Head Coach Tom Thibodeau sounded like he was generally surprised that Bates-Diop was around. Normally pick No. 48 is reserved for a player who likely won’t make the team. It feels like the exact opposite for KDB.
2. Awards and Honors
In his final season at Ohio State, Bates-Diop averaged 19.8 points (first in Big Ten) and 8.7 rebounds per game (second). He shot 48 percent from the field and 35.9 percent from deep, earning him Big Ten Player of the Year honors. With that, he was named to the First-team All-Big Ten team because it’d be incredibly weird if he wasn’t. He was also a consensus second-team All-American.
This was a huge improvement for Bates-Diop who previously hadn’t averaged more than 11.8 points or 6.4 rebounds in a season. It’s a huge reason why Ohio State finished 25-9 overall, earning a five seed in the NCAA Tournament and finishing second in the Big Ten. This was an unexpected thing and most of that had to do with Bates-Diop's play. Sports Illustrated predicted Ohio State would finish 11th in the conference prior to the season.
3. Family Ties
Bates-Diop’s father, Richard Bates, played college ball at Creighton from 1979-93. In his senior season, he averaged 9.2 points and 4.6 rebounds per game. Very solid player!
Despite this, Creighton wasn’t on the Keita’s radar after high school for potential colleges. According to ESPN, DePaul, Illinois, Kansas State, Louisville, Marquette, Michigan, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Purdue, Stanford and Wisconsin made him offers. No Creighton.
Keita ranked No. 22 in ESPN’s top-100 for the class of 2014. His new teammate, Karl-Anthony Towns, was ranked ninth. Tyus Jones was No. 4.
Maybe Keita’s dad and Justin Patton can talk about the good-old days.
4. BLOCK PARTY!
Bates-Diop has a wingspan of 7’3.25, which ranked 10th among players who attended the Combine last month.
With that wingspan, combined with his athleticism, Bates-Diop had four games in which he blocked four or more shots. He had 17 multi-block games and 28 games with at least one block. On the season, he averaged a career-high 1.6 blocks per game. Marvin Bagley, who is four inches taller than Bates-Diop, averaged 0.9 blocks.
His 56 blocks in 2017-18 ranked sixth in the Big Ten, which is pretty remarkable coming from a non-center.
5. 2016-17 Redshirt Season
Bates-Diop was a rare redshirt season. In 2016-17, he played in just nine games after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left leg suffered before the season.
Prior to the surgery, it was something that was clearly bugging him as he was averaged just 9.7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
But don’t fret! Bates-Diop is full healthy. Just go back to fact No. 2 on this list. You have nothing to worry about.