Throughout his career, Diebler has been criticized for being too one-dimensional on the court. Critics have viewed him as a static player incapable of creating his own shot or doing much other than catching and shooting the basketball. Against Penn State, we saw that this is not the case.
On at least two of his three-pointers, Diebler utilized a step-back move to free himself from a defender before burying the shot. On a few others, he was several feet beyond the arc but never altered his motion as the shots continued to fall.
Yes, Diebler will primarily get his shots as a by-product of other players drawing the primary defensive attention. That is how three-point shooters operate. But against the Nittany Lions, Diebler showed that he continues to grow more confident in putting the ball on the floor and creating on his own.
One play in particular sticks with me and sums up what kind of player Diebler is. With nine three-pointers to his credit, the senior caught the ball at the top of the circle and had the chance to hoist up a contested shot for the chance to break the OSU record. At this point, it was obvious that he and his teammate knew how many treys Diebler had to his credit.
But rather than take a good shot for a chance at immortality, Diebler demonstrated one of head coach Thad Matta's key teachings and passed it up for a great shot. The senior spied freshman Deshaun Thomas wide open near the basket and fired a pass right to him for the easy lay-in.
I think … that for the first time in his career, I have to wonder if William Buford might actually be ready for the NBA.
We have always known that Buford can hit the mid-range jumper. His propensity to shoot just inside the three-point arc has occasionally been a cause for concern, but what we are starting to see is that Buford has a well-rounded game.
The jumper has always been there. Against PSU, we saw the mid-range game off the glass. Buford was posting up a smaller player and banking in shots unlike any player in recent memory.
In addition, Matta said the other day that they track all the offseason shots they are allowed to witness in the practice gym at Value City Arena. According to the coach, Buford shoots the highest percentage on the team when taking a difficult or contested shot.
At this point, I struggle to think what kind of shot at which Buford does not excel.
I think … that unnoticed in the lopsided victory is the performance put forth by Jared Sullinger – and how often has that been the case this season?
The freshman finished with the quietest double-double I can recall: 10 points and 10 rebounds. With Diebler filling the basket from deep and Buford scoring from everywhere else, Sullinger's presence was not needed at the offensive end. Rather than completely disappear, he bullied his way to the glass and helped the Buckeyes earn a 31-18 advantage there.
Earlier this season, Sullinger told us to judge his effort on his rebounding totals. Tonight's game tells me that the effort was there, as has been the case for practically the entire season.