In my first recruiting piece for Buckeye Empire, I spoke with 2014 4-star, 6-7 190-pound Small Forward/Power Forward Keita Bates-Diop out of Normal Community High School (Normal, IL). According to 247sports.com’s 2014 class analysis, Keita has a 97 overall rating, is ranked the 22nd best overall player in the country, the 6th best small forward in the country, and the 3rd best overall player in the basketball powerhouse state of Illinois. Aside from all the on-the-court accolades, Keita proved to be a very impressive young man in the interview and has an extremely bright future ahead of him. Get to know this talented future Buckeye here:
ZC: How’s your senior season at Normal going so far?
KB: It’s going good so far. We’re 10-1 on the season.
ZC: What’s your favorite part about playing offense? What’s your favorite part about playing defense?
KB: I really like to shoot the ball from the perimeter on offense. On defense, I love using my length to steal the ball and block shots.
ZC: You’re projected to play small forward or power forward in college. What do you think you’ll end up playing at Ohio State and which do you prefer?
KB: I’d say I prefer playing the 3 position [small forward], but I’m fit for the 4 [power forward] as well. I think I’ll play both at Ohio State.
ZC: What is your biggest strength?
KB: My length and versatility is my biggest strength.
ZC: You committed to the Buckeyes back on November 18th. Who on Ohio State’s coaching staff would you say was the key to getting you to be a Buckeye? Are any other schools still recruiting you?
KB: Coach [Jeff] Boals and Coach [Thad] Matta were key to getting me to commit. No other schools are still recruiting me.
ZC: What do you like about Ohio State?
KB: I loved how comfortable I felt with the coaching staff and the players.
ZC: Who on Ohio State’s coaching staff do you currently speak to the most? How often do you guys speak?
KB: I probably speak to all of the coaches an equal amount. We speak every day, and if not, very close to it.
ZC: How did you deal with the pressure of the recruiting process and being such a highly touted recruit?
KB: I just focused on staying calm. I spoke with the people I am close to and asked for help with the situation.
ZC: Have you spoke with Jae’sean Tate, the other Buckeye commit in the 2014 class?
KB: Yeah, we spoke a couple days after each one of us committed. Also, we spoke a couple days ago.
ZC: Are you friends with any current Buckeye players through the AAU circuit or from visiting?
KB: Yeah, I’d say I’m closest with Sam Thompson because he’s from Illinois too.
ZC: Have you gotten a chance to watch the Buckeyes yet this year? Which players do you like watching the best?
KB: Yeah I’ve seen them play multiple times. I love watching Deshaun Thomas and Sam Thompson the best.
ZC: Who’s the best high school player you’ve played against or with?
KB: D’Angelo Russell is probably the best player I’ve played against.
ZC: Do you plan on visiting Ohio State anytime again this season?
KB: Yes, I’ll be at the Kansas game tomorrow.
Role Models: My father and a lot of my head coaches for my high school and AAU teams
Best Subject in School: Probably philosophy.
Hobbies: I like to hang out and read.
Movies: Impossible for me to pick.
TV Shows: Walking Dead.
Favorite Sports Teams: Oklahoma City Thunder.
Thanks to Keita for a great interview and taking the time to give Buckeye nation a chance to get to know you. Good luck on the rest of your season!