In a battle against South Dakota State and Mike Daum on Thursday, the area in which Bates-Diop really won was the fact that he goes to a massive school and Daum does not. When the defensive attention caught up to each school’s top scorer, the game turned into a test of the role players on either side.
The Buckeye emerged victorious, thanks to the prestige and resources of Bates-Diop’s program more than any coaching decision or improvement. Ohio State’s second best-player is a whole lot better than that of South Dakota State, even if Daum is reasonably comparable to Bates-Diop in terms of productivity.
That said, Bates-Diop’s ability to carry Ohio State’s whole offense for large stretches of competitive games is more impressive every time he does it. The Big 10 player of the year (remember: Miles Bridges, Moritz Wagner and Carsen Edwards all play in this conference) is a success story, and it’s hard to imagine a world in which his story doesn’t include a first-round selection.
Bates-Diop’s next test will be Killian Tillie and the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Hawks, and scouts across the whole NBA, are watching.