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Jake Diebler Talks Summer Workouts, Coaching Staff and Roster Reconstruction

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Jake Diebler met with the media on Monday morning. He discussed the changes made to the roster and the coaching staff,

Ohio State added four new players and five new assistant coaches since the end of the season in March. Here is what Diebler had to say.

Jake Diebler

+ There wasn’t a checklist, but he was attacking each day to be productive. The staff component was important but he couldn’t not recruit and manage the roster and it was a lot.

+ He is having a blast and has been having a lot of fun with this coaching staff and roster. “It’s been a fun spring.”

+ On adapting to the roster, Diebler said they wanted to structure the roster more to the style of play they want to have moving forward. But they also had to adapt, not take things personally, and move forward quickly.

+ On the versatility of the players added, Diebler said versatility makes them hard to guard and be more creative defensively, so they were intentional about that. All four of the additions were in the NCAA Tournament last year and won at a certain level.

+ The plans are to fill the one roster spot remaining. “We are being really intentional about that.”

+ On the coaching staff additions, Diebler said they are all coming from winning programs and have won at a high level. Jamaal Walker is coming off of the best three-year stretch in school history. Luke Simons was at Baylor working for Scott Drew, someone he knows and trusts. Talor Battle, unbelievable success in the league and in the tournament. Dave Dickerson was a part of the final four team the last time Diebler was here. When he was hiring, he was committed to making decisions on helping the team move forward to winning a championship and also finding coaches who were committed to helping young men grow — those had to be there for this to work. “There was a lot that went into it certainly.”

+ The most challenging part of the adjustment to head coach has been making more decisions. His mind also does not shut off — he is constantly thinking about what is next.

+”You have to be able to adapt. The days of having a true understanding of what your roster’s going to look like year-to-year, a year in advance, I think those days are mostly over.” He chooses to look at it as a positive because it gives them flexibility every year to bring in the right pieces. They will constantly dig deep to find the right players who care about winning.

+ On the freshman class featuring Colin White and Juni Mobley, Diebler said “I like our two freshman a lot. Both of them are going to be able to provide some real value for this team.” Both players love Ohio State, which is valuable.

+ “It’s less about bridging a gap and more about turning a page,” Diebler said. “It’s going to be different. I think Holt [Chris Holtmann] is a really good coach and he’s going to have a ton of success at DePaul and I’ve learned a lot from him but we have to completely turn a page, this is an entirely new program.”

+ As a first year head coach, having a player like Bruce Thornton on his team gives him some peace and comfort.

+ Sean Stewart and Aaron Bradshaw’s experience and knowing what college basketball feels like will be valuable. But they also have a veteran backcourt and that will help them transition into bigger roles this season.

+ The common advice to him has been to “be yourself.” He has kept a lot of his personal routines the same since being named head coach.

+ On the direction of NIL, Diebler said he hopes The Foundation stays involved because they have been great for their program and the way they have connected the program to the community. He thinks it’s valuable that he hasn’t been a head coach for that long because he’s not stuck in his ways. “It’s exciting.”

+ There will be a healthy competition for spots this season. “We’ve got competitive guys and it will be a good thing for us.”

+ Ohio State will play at Texas A&M this season. They are trying to finalize a deal for another home-and-home series with another high-major team as well. The preference would be to start that at home this year because they always want to have a marquee opponent play at home. A lot of teams are transferring away from home-and-home series to neutral site games — it’s different now.

+ Everyone on the roster is healthy and ready to go.

+ On wanting to win a championship and publicly embracing that, Diebler said he appreciates what this program has been, he saw it from an intimate spot when his brother was here. “The standard here is just that. We’re not going to lower the standard because it’s year one.” The standard is competing for championships and that’s the standard for this program, he feels a great deal of responsibility to push for that.

Photo via Ohio State Dept. of Athletics. 

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