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Ohio State's Bates-Diop, Holtmann earn Big Ten postseason honors

Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop, left, chases a loose ball against Indiana forward Juwan Morgan during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Columbus, Ohio, Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WKRC) - Ohio State's Keita Bates-Diop has been named Big Ten Player of the Year and Chris Holtmann the Big Ten Coach of the Year by conference coaches and media, the conference office announced Monday.

Bates-Diop becomes the Buckeyes’ seventh Big Ten Player of the Year and the first since Evan Turner in 2010. The redshirt junior leads the 24-7 Buckeyes and ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring at 19.2 points per game and is tied for second at 8.9 rebounds per contest. The Normal, Illinois, native also sits sixth in the conference with 52 blocked shots in a team-high 32.7 minutes per game. In 18 Big Ten games, Bates-Diop has averaged 19.4 points and 9.2 rebounds per game while blocking 30 shots. His 12 double-doubles on the season are tied for second in the conference and the Buckeyes are 11-1 in 2017-18 when he records a double-double.

Ohio State Big Ten Players of the Year

  • Dennis Hopson, 1987
  • Jim Jackson, 1991
  • Jim Jackson, 1992
  • Scoonie Penn, 1999
  • Terence Dials, 2006
  • Evan Turner, 2010
  • Keita Bates-Diop, 2018

Bates-Diop has stepped up when the Buckeyes needed him most this season, going for 32 points, seven boards and three steals in an 80-64 win over top-ranked Michigan State Jan. 7. He then went for 18 points and 11 rebounds while scoring the game-winning putback with 2.8 seconds left in a 64-63 win at No. 3 Purdue Feb. 7. Bates-Diop also scored a career-high 35 points in a 65-67 win over Illinois Feb. 4 and went for 24 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in a career-high 45 minutes as the Buckeyes closed the regular season with an 80-78 double-overtime win at Indiana Feb. 23.

A member of the USBWA Oscar Robertson Trophy Midseason Player of the Year watch list and a Naismith Player of the Year and Julius Erving Award candidate, Bates-Diop was named Big Ten Player of the Week four times this season and earned Naismith Trophy, USBWA and NBCSports.com National Player of the Week honors Jan. 8. The 28th player in Ohio State history to eclipse 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds, Bates-Diop sits 38th in program history with 1,195 career points.

When Chris Holtmann signed on to become Ohio State’s 14th head coach in the history of the program in June, he inherited a team that finished 11th in the Big Ten in 2017 and a roster of five players returning from a 17-15 campaign.

After a 24-7 overall record, which included a 15-3 record in the Big Ten regular season, Holtmann was honored by league coaches and media Monday. He is the fifth Ohio State coach to earn the conference COY. Ohio State coaches have been named the league COY a total of eight times. Thad Matta, a three-time Big Ten COY, last claimed the accolade in 2010. He also was the COY in 2006 and 2007.

The Buckeyes, picked no better than 11th in preseason Big Ten standings, secured a No. 2 finish in the league standings and the No. 2 seed in the annual Big Ten Tournament with a double-overtime win at Indiana Feb. 23. The win was Ohio State’s sixth road victory in league play and the seventh away from home in conference play. The Buckeyes defeated Minnesota at Madison Square Garden Jan. 20.

The Buckeyes started the season 5-3 before opening the Big Ten season at Wisconsin Dec. 2, 2017. Ohio State won that game 83-58 before returning home to face Michigan Dec. 4. The Buckeyes overcame a 20-point deficit to defeat the Wolverines 71-62.

Holtmann guided the Buckeyes to a 9-0 start in league play, the most wins to open a first season in the Big Ten by a coach since 1923, a 95-year span. Included in the opening league win streak was a victory over No. 1 Michigan State in Columbus. It was Holtmann’s third career win over the No. 1 team after a pair of wins vs. No. 1 Villanova during his tenure at Butler. In the second half of the league season, Holtmann guided the Buckeyes to an equally-impressive win over No. 3 Purdue in West Lafayette. The loss was the only setback for the Boilermakers in a 16-1 home season at Mackey Arena.

The 24 wins by the Buckeyes are the most orchestrated by a first-year coach in Ohio State history. No other Ohio State coach earned more than 19 regular-season wins in the 119-year history of the program.

Ohio State’s 15 league wins this season are the most since the 2011 team finished the year with a 16-2 Big Ten Conference record.

Ohio State was well-represented on the 2017-18 All-Big Ten teams as Jae’Sean Tate, Kaleb Wesson and Andrew Dakich were honored, too.

Tate was named second team All-Big Ten by the league coaches and to the honorable mention team by the league media. In 31 starts, the Pickerington, Ohio, native averaged 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest. Tate is shooting 56 percent from the field and ranks second on the team with 92 assists and 32 steals.

Wesson was named to the Big Ten All-Freshman team after starting 27 games, averaging 11 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. A native of Westerville, Ohio, Wesson has shot 57.5 percent from the field and has gone to the free throw line a team-high 132 times, making 96. Wesson also sits second on the team with 21 blocks.

Dakich, a fifth-year transfer from Michigan playing his only season in Columbus, is the Buckeyes’ Big Ten Sportsmanship Award honoree. A native of Zionsville, Indiana, Dakich has appeared in all 31 games, making one start. He has averaged 18.4 minutes per game and handed out 66 assists while recording 26 steals.

The No. 2 seed Buckeyes take on No. 7 seed Penn State or No. 10 seed Northwestern in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament at 6:30 p.m. ET Friday at Madison Square Garden.

Information courtesy Ohio State Athletics

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