Jon Diebler excited for annual summer return to Ohio State

Adam Jardy
Jake and Jon Diebler, May 16, 2019. [Adam Jardy/Dispatch]

Jon Diebler hadn’t been back in the country for more than 48 hours and he had already found himself back at Ohio State.

It was on a Tuesday night that the former Buckeye sharpshooter had returned from his eighth professional season, this one having taken place in Turkey, to learn that his older brother’s press conference at Ohio State was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

So as Jake Diebler was seated inside the postgame interview room at Value City Arena for his first press conference as a newly hired assistant coach, there was Jon in the back of the room taking it in. When the conference came to a close, the Big Ten’s all-time leader in three-point shooting met with reporters in the back of the room.

The common theme throughout the conversation: it’s good to be home.

“It’s going very fast, but it’s always a pleasure to be back here,” he said. “I’m looking forward to other guys rolling in in the summertime just to see your brothers. And to get to see him (Jake) in the summertime and not have a six-hour drive is exciting. I love being back here.”

From 2008-11, Diebler hit 374 three-pointers for the Buckeyes and average 10.6 points per game while starting in 115 career games, the eighth-most in school history. Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers in the second round of the NBA Draft, Diebler wound up heading overseas for a career that has taken him across the world and ultimately to Turkey last season.

Each summer, though, the native Ohioan returns to Columbus, where he spends much of the summer hanging out with and playing against his fellow alumni who also annually return. Recently, that has also meant hosting his annual skills camps – which runs July 22-26 – and participating in the team of Ohio State alumni playing in The Basketball Tournament.

Both remain in the plans for the summer, even as the TBT team searches for a new name. More importantly to the Diebler family, Jon’s wife, Caitlin, is expecting twins later this summer. Last summer, Diebler said, he didn’t learn he would be playing in Turkey until two days before he had to leave.

“I think everyone’s plan is to play as long as their body holds up, but for us, my wife is pregnant with twins so that changes things a little bit,” he said. “I feel like I can play for a while. I feel great. Thank God I’ve been fairly healthy throughout my career. Haven’t had any major injuries. We’re going to wait and weigh the options and offers we get this summer and we’ll go from there.”

While overseas, Diebler said he often wakes up at 4 a.m. to catch either former teammates like Evan Turner playing in the NBA or the Buckeyes playing live. Seeing coach Chris Holtmann get them into the NCAA Tournament for a second straight season was something Diebler said he enjoyed from afar.

“It was great,” he said. “I think just watching coach Holtmann and the staff and the job they’ve done has been great. Obviously they kind of flew under the radar the first couple years and exceeded all expectations from everyone. This year they’re going to have a little bit more expectations for the program but they’re ready for it. I love watching the guys.

When his career ends, Diebler said he’d like to get into coaching, following in the footsteps of not just his brother but his dad, Keith, who has been a high school coach throughout Ohio for nearly 40 years. Inevitably, it led to a question of whether Diebler thought Thad Matta, his coach at Ohio State, would ever return to coaching.

“I think he’s pretty healthy, and obviously that’s the main thing,” he said. “I know he’s had a couple opportunities and obviously you guys know the programs he was maybe communicating with, but I’m not sure. With (his daughters) in school, you never know. Coaching, it’s in the blood, like my dad always said. I think he’s happy. He’s doing well. That’s most important.”


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