Basketball

Jake Diebler Keeping Busy As Season Continues

COLUMBUS – NIT action continues at Value City Arena as the Ohio State men’s basketball team will host Georgia on Tuesday night in third round action.

The winner will get a trip to Indianapolis for the Final Four of the NIT while the loser will see their season come to an end.

It has been a physical two games for the Buckeyes as the team has dispatched of Cornell and Virginia Tech to reach this point.

Already shorthanded with the absence of Scotty Middleton due to what is being described as a family matter, the freshman guard is back with the team though his status moving forward has not be clarified as of yet.

“He’s back, he’s still processing through some of that family stuff,” Ohio State head coach Jake Diebler said on Monday morning. “He’s got our full support, but he’s back, but he’s still working through that.”

As for players who have been on the court for the past two games, a pair of players have been dealing with new or lingering issues in advance of the upcoming game.

“(Bruce Thornton) got hit in the thigh, kind of took a knee to the thigh,” Diebler said. “We’re still evaluating him.”

Finally, the Buckeyes saw Roddy Gayle miss time in the Virginia Tech game with an injury that occurred during the course of the game. He did make it back to the lineup after spending time on the bench.

“Roddy, obviously, I know was out for a stretch of the game,” Diebler added. “We expect him to be back. He was obviously able to return.”

As Diebler looks to finish out the 2023-24 season strong, attention has also been placed on what 2024-25 will look like. A report from Jeff Goodman from The Field of 68 stated that the Buckeyes will be hiring a familiar face with the return of Dave Dickerson. That news was later confirmed by Ohio State via press release.

Dickerson was a member of Thad Matta’s Ohio State staff from 2010-2017, coaching Jake’s brother Jon Diebler during his time.

Dickerson would go on to coach South Carolina-Upstate before opting to head back to Ohio State.

“Dave Dickerson is a respected, veteran coach and I am excited that he is rejoining the Ohio State family,” Diebler said via press release. “He was not only a part of some of the most successful teams in Ohio State history, but he also brings head coaching experience that will be invaluable as we continue to take the next step as a program.”

Scouting the Dawgs

Ohio State will face off against the University of Georgia (20-16) by virtue of a 72-66 upset of top-seeded Wake Forest. The Dawgs went to halftime up 15 in the game and had to hold on as the Demon Deacons put together a serious comeback attempt.

Georgia doesn’t have just one player who will lead the team in scoring but only has two players in double-figures on average with Noah Thomasson (12.9 ppg) and Jabri Abdur-Rahim (12.2 ppg). Beyond that there are four players who are averaging nine-plus points per game and two more players who are scoring in the sevens.

Abdur-Rahim has not played since the start of March with what has been called an ankle injury, but UGA losing one of its top scorers shouldn’t be a major loss with so many players who are capable of leading the team in scoring on a nightly basis.

“They’re good. I have a ton of respect for Coach (Mike) White, going back to when we were in the SEC together,” Diebler said, recalling his time at Vanderbilt. I think he’s a really good coach. His teams play tough, and he’s usually had some really good guard play.”

The Buckeyes have had some similar play compared to UGA when it comes to various players leading on any given night.  

Ohio State may have seen its path to Indianapolis ease up with No. 1 seeded Wake Forest out of the picture, but Georgia will be no slouch come Tuesday night.

“There’s a great deal of versatility from a scoring standpoint on their roster,” Diebler said. “I want to say it’s maybe seven guys who are like seven points or more on the season. So, he’s a good coach. They got good players. We got to have a great day of practice to get ready.”

Home on the road

Jake Diebler made his way down to Dayton (Ohio) on Sunday to check out the State Championship Games in boys basketball at U-D Arena. Four state champions were crowned during a busy day of basketball and recruiting never stops, even when you are preparing for your next opponent on short notice.

Diebler was seen during the telecast watching some intriguing in-state prospects as they were playing for titles.

But he was not the only Diebler in the house as his brother, Jon, was there on behalf of his current employer, the Butler Bulldogs.

The scene of the Diebler brothers was picked up on camera and it was a welcome homecoming, of sorts, for the two as both have been so busy with the current basketball season.

What were the conversations like?

“It started off with like, hey man, it’s been a while since I’ve seen you,” Diebler joked. “How you doing?”

At the defense of the Diebler family, it has been a busy week since Diebler was announced as Ohio State’s full-time head coach with both brothers having to prepare for games.

Jon was not able to make it to the introductory press conference as he had other responsibilities, so this was a good chance to catch-up, even if it was a working gathering.

“It was the first time I’d seen him in person since all of this, and so got a good hug in and we just kind of caught up on family stuff,” Diebler said.

Jake has been in the coaching profession longer than his brother, but he feels that his brother is doing everything the right way and has a tremendous mentor in Thad Matta.

“I’m so happy for what John’s been able to do starting his coaching career,” Diebler said of his brother. “Obviously, he had a long professional career and I think he’s a rising star. Certainly, learning under Thad Mata is going to be really beneficial for him.”

Jake received a strong reception from everyone at the state finals, but Jon’s reception was strong as well.

“He got a pretty warm reception from people too, as I’m sure you can imagine,” Diebler said.

Family get togethers will be more interesting moving forward, that is for sure.

“That was cool for us to be able to share that stuff together.”

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