Ohio State will open its 2019-20 men's basketball season by hosting Cincinnati for the first time in nearly 98 years. The Buckeyes and Bearcats will meet Nov. 6 in Value City Arena, marking only the 12th time the in-state programs have met and the second time in as many years that they’ve played each other within state lines after having not done so since 1921. In preparation for the start of the season, The Dispatch is counting down with power rankings for each member of the Ohio State roster.
These rankings are an educated guess at which players will have the most significant on-court impact during the course of the season.
No. 10: Ibrahima Diallo
Height/weight: 6 feet 10 / 220 pounds
Jersey number: 15
Background: Originally from Senegal, Diallo came to the United States to play high school basketball in Florida. After his junior year, he transferred to California, where he played for Napa Valley Prolific Prep and played his way onto Ohio State’s radar. He was the final member to join the four-man recruiting class. Diallo was a three-star recruit and the No. 368 national prospect in the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
2018-19 stats: Diallo averaged 11 points, 11 rebounds and around 4 blocks while being limited to 10 games due to injury.
Need to know: Diallo had been to Ohio just once before committing to the Buckeyes. He met with Greg Oden while on his official visit to Ohio State. Diallo has a 7-foot-7 wingspan. His primary recruiter was Mike Schrage, now the head coach at Elon. Diallo has a grandfather who is 7 feet tall.
2018-19 recap: His season at Prolific Prep started with a sprained ankle that cost him a few games. Then a broken wrist robbed him of six weeks, limiting him to just a couple of games. Two of them came in Ohio, however, when his team traveled to Dayton for the annual Flyin’ to the Hoop event. In the first game, he had 20 points and 14 rebounds in a win against Springfield that was attended by Ohio State coaches. In the second, he had 10 and five, respectively, in only 14 minutes in a win against Geneva (Ohio) Spire Academy. Diallo also helped limit the nation’s top center prospect, James Wiseman, to nine points in another regular-season win.
2019-20 outlook: There’s no getting around the fact that Diallo entered Ohio State as a raw product. He must make up ground in order to be ready to contribute at a high level, which has led to Diallo being discussed as a potential redshirt candidate. A few problems are inherent in that scenario, though: Without him, the Buckeyes have no true backup to Kaleb Wesson at center, and should Wesson leave for the NBA after his junior season Diallo would be asked to play perhaps 20 minutes a game as a redshirt freshman. For now, he has impressed the coaching staff with his maturity and willingness to learn and gotten his teammates’ attention for his ability to run the floor with speed that belies his frame. “Awesome kid,” coach Chris Holtmann said. “Great length. He’s just got a ways to go as a big guy. Going to need patience.”
Who’s new to the Buckeyes: Ibrahima Diallo
A look at each Ohio State player as the season nears
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