His first news conference as an assistant basketball coach at Ohio State lasted roughly 25 minutes for Ohio native Jake Diebler on Thursday. By the time it was over, Diebler had used the word “home” five times, “family” seven times and “fit” nine times.
Consider those 21 reasons why coach Chris Holtmann chose Diebler to fill the opening on his coaching staff created when Mike Schrage took the head coaching job at Elon. The son of Keith Diebler, a high school coach who has won more than 300 games in Ohio, and older brother of Jon, Ohio State alumnus and Big Ten career three-point shooting leader, is back with the Buckeyes after having spent three seasons at Vanderbilt.
And yes, the one-time video coordinator during the Thad Matta era is excited.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
“I think when you talk about home, and especially for us — my wife graduating from here, I have a relative who was an OK player here as well — this is home,” he said with Jon looking on from the back of the room. “I think there’s something to be said when you have an opportunity to return home and do what you love with the people that you love and around people that you love. Yes, to say I’m excited and to say my wife is excited and my family is excited I think is an understatement.”
Let go when Vanderbilt fired coach Bryce Drew after a 9-23 season, Diebler said he was aggressively looking for a job for this season when Schrage’s departure was announced. Upon his hiring in mid-April, Diebler immediately started assisting in recruiting and hasn’t yet gone over specifics regarding his sideline roles.
Diebler said he has had the chance to meet each member of the team and is looking forward to getting to know them on the court during summer workouts.
His addition has paid at least one dividend on the recruiting trail — guard Keon Johnson included the Buckeyes in his final three this week. A four-star prospect from The Webb School in Bell Buckle, Tennessee, Johnson had been considering Vanderbilt but now is only looking at Ohio State, Tennessee and Virginia.
College coaches can’t discuss recruits until letters-of-intent are signed, but Diebler said his experience with the program and ties to the state are a major plus when selling the program to prospects.
“I believe in everything Ohio State stands for,” he said. “I grew up watching it. Talk about being a fan, talk about growing up in Ohio, but when you have family involved? That’s a different level. To work somewhere that you believe in so much can only enhance your ability to recruit. The family thing is real here. A lot of people talk about family, but here it is definitely real and I think it’s a huge part of the success.”