Ibrahima Diallo had been to Ohio just once when he took an official visit to Ohio State in March. On Sunday, the 7-foot center from Senegal who spent his senior season at Napa (California) Prolific Prep, committed to the Buckeyes, filling out their 2019 recruiting class.

The reason for his decision, he said, was the coaching staff that has been recruiting him for the last few months.

“I trust the coach, coach (Chris) Holtmann, and the coaching staff,” Diallo said. “That was something that was really important to me. I got a good vibe with the coaches, and I know they’ve got a great program, too. I know (Holtmann) is a good coach for me because he’s an honest coach. He’s good with what he’s doing and I know he’s going to take the program to the next level.”

Diallo will add depth to a roster with no true backup behind Kaleb Wesson, who will be a junior.  


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Diallo has a 7-foot-7 wingspan and, although raw, has plenty of upside. He is not in the 247Sports composite rankings, but the website lists him as a three-star recruit, the No. 41 center in the nation and the overall No. 194 recruit.

Ohio State had been in the market for a freshman or graduate transfer to serve as Wesson’s backup. Daniel Giddens, a former Buckeye who transferred to Alabama after his freshman season, visited this month, but the situation did not work out. The Buckeyes were also linked to Butler graduate transfer Joey Brunk, a player whom Holtmann had signed at Butler.

Diallo said he’s not concerned about what his role he will fill.

“I cannot say what role,” he said. “Every team is what the coach wants. For right now, I cannot go that far (ahead). I’m just going to let coach decide what he wants, but I know I’m going to work hard every day.  

“I know I’m going to be around a lot of good coaches. I’m going to be around a lot of good teammates, because I’m talking to them right now every day. I’m very excited. We’re going to work hard and do good next year. I’m really excited about next year’s season.”

Although they have one available scholarship remaining, the addition of Diallo all but guarantees that the Buckeyes are done adding players who would be eligible to play in the 2019-20 season.


After months of careful consideration I have decided to commit to Ohio State University @OhioStateHoops I want to thank all the coaches who have recruited me during the recruitment process. My Family and I are excited about the next chapter in my life. pic.twitter.com/IWmZhpWHsi

— ibrahimadiallo (@ibrahimaa24) April 14, 2019


“We may add another guy as potentially a backup five,” coach Chris Holtmann said Wednesday. “Do I think we’d add two more? No. Not right now.”

Holtmann said it’s unlikely that the Buckeyes will carry 13 available scholarship players in any season because the structure of college basketball makes it difficult to do so.

“When you get into the guts of the Big Ten season, you’re talking about usually an 8-to-9-man rotation in a lot of cases,” Holtmann said. “Why would you have 13 guys on your roster who all expect to play? It’s foolish. It creates a team dynamic that’s not always healthy.”

Diallo said he enjoyed his official visit to Ohio State, one of two that he took, along with Pittsburgh. At OSU, he met with Greg Oden, a student coach with the team and a former No. 1 NBA draft pick.

“That was a great visit, to be honest,” he said. “I had a chance to meet Greg Oden. He’s a really good guy. I look up to him. I used to watch him. He was the No. 1 pick, so that was cool. I got to relate to the guys and all of the coaching staff on my visit. That was really cool. I really liked it.”

His primary recruiter, Mike Schrage, has left the program to take the head coaching job at Elon. Diallo said that didn’t change his thoughts on the Buckeyes.

“Mike Schrage, that’s my coach,” Diallo said. “That’s my guy. He was recruiting me. I like him. He’s really cool, and I know he got a new job. He called me to tell me about it. I’m really happy for coach Mike, and he’s going to do really good at his new school.”