Please patronize our advertisers to help
keep free for everyone. Mall

Interesting, Fun companies with interesting, quality products - and the-Ozone gets a piece of the action!

Click here to return to the front page.
Established October 31, 1996
Front Page Columns and Features
Last updated: 03/13/2011 1:30 AM

Follow Tony
on Twitter
Email Tony
Share |

Men's Basketball
Diebler's Driving Can Take Buckeyes Far
By Tony Gerdeman

Ohio State has won six games in a row since losing to Purdue back on February 2. During that time, despite two single-digit wins in the Big Ten Tournament, the Buckeyes are winning their games by an average of 17 points.

Not unrelatedly, in that span, Jon Diebler is shooting 60% from behind the three-point line.

Clearly of note in those six games is Diebler's amazing 10-12 outburst from three-point land against Penn State. Ironically, however, it's something that he didn't do much of in that game that, of late, is making him more dangerous than ever—he's attacking the basket.

“Adding that dimension of putting it on the floor makes it that much harder for teams to match up with me,” says Diebler.

“Not only does it get shots for me, it gets shots for everyone else, because last year I was a spot up shooter and teams were allowed to focus in and just stand by me, but this year just adding that other element makes us that much better of a team.”

While that element has been seen throughout the season, only of late has it really taken root. Several times this year we have seen Diebler stymied and unable to get up many shot attempts. Prior to March, Diebler had only taken ten or more field goal attempts four times this season. In the four games played in March, however, he's taken ten or more shots in every single game.

The fact that Diebler is now looking for more ways to score means that opposing teams will have to look for may ways to defend him. The more shots Diebler can get, the better it will be for the Buckeyes. Not only is he second in the nation in three-point field goal percentage at 49.7%, but his 55% shooting on two-pointers would put him fifth in the Big Ten in shooting, ahead of the likes of teammate Jared Sullinger.

Diebler's driving to the basket really took off against Wisconsin, even though he only took two two-point field goal attempts. He was fouled going to the basket a couple of times, and it paid off in free throw attempts.

Over the course of the Big Ten regular season, Diebler only took three or more two-point field goal attempts twice. The first time came in January's close win at home over Penn State, and the second time in the home win over Michigan.

In the Big Ten Tournament, however, Diebler has done it in both games, and with success.

“I'm really just taking what the defense is giving me,” he says matter-of-factly.

“With how I was shooting the ball before the Big Ten tournament teams are really focused on not letting me shoot, but when you have guys like Dave, Will and Jared and Craft out on the court, it's hard to focus on somebody when they're driving the basketball because we've got so many playmakers on the perimeter. With Jared and Dallas inside, Coach told me they're staying at home on the wings and on Jared, so I just have to finish.”

And finishing he is. He is 6-9 on two-point field goal attempts in the Big Ten Tournament, and making teams pay for playing up on him so much. The harder it is for teams to guard Diebler, the easier it is for his teammates to score. And some of that is hand-delivered by Diebler himself. In the four games played this month, he has had three games with three or more assists. In the sixteen Big Ten games leading up to March, he did it just four times.

He's also getting to the free throw line more often. Five times this season he has gone to the line five or more times in a game, and three of those have come in the Buckeyes' six-game winning streak.

Attacking the basket has opened up and improved every single aspect of Diebler's offensive game. But this new-found ability isn't going to his head. He still knows the score.

“It helps to have great players on the floor with you,” he says.

“We've got a lot of very good basketball players and it's hard to focus on somebody when they're driving to the basket, whoever that may be, because you've got people who can knock the shots down from the outside.”

Even when touting his own recent hot shooting, he still won't stray far from crediting his teammates.

“That really opened driving lanes for me,” he says of his 17 of 20 spree from three-point range.

“It's a lot easier when you're playing with great players because everyone draws so much attention that it's hard to focus on one guy.”

“We're so confident right now in our system. We trust what the coaches have us doing offensively and defensively. We feel we can get any shot we want because of the personnel we have on the court.”

But it goes beyond trust. There is work involved. A player can't go from stationary jump-shooter to whirling dervish just on a whim.

“It's something we worked extremely hard on in the off-season,” he says. “All of a sudden now I'm going to get away from what I do best. You just always have to be able to mix up your game a little bit and make progress.”

Looking at the results, it's hard to argue that progress hasn't been made. And continues to appear quite promising with each passing day.

Donate by Check :

Ozone Communications
1380 King Avenue
Columbus, Ohio

Help us bring you more Buckeye coverage. Donate to the-Ozone.

Click here to email this the-Ozone feature to a friend...or even a foe.

(c) 2010 The O-Zone, O-Zone Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, rebroadcast,rewritten, or redistributed.

Click here to return to the front page.

Front Page Columns and Features