Draft Day For Former Buckeyes

David Lighty closed his Ohio State career as the winningest player in program history. Now Lighty, Jon Diebler and Dallas Lauderdale will be watching tonight's NBA draft with the hopes of hearing their names being called.

Standing inside the New Jersey Devils locker room with a white towel draped around his shoulders, David Lighty had little idea what would come next. Ohio State had just been upset by Kentucky in the Sweet 16 and just like that, Lighty's five-year collegiate career had drawn to a close.

With the NBA draft looming more than two months down the road, Lighty was looking for guidance.

"Hopefully the NBA (is next)," he said. "I'll go through the process of working out and getting an agent and going from there. I'll probably be making some calls to find out what to do and find out what the process is like."

The same goes for former teammates Jon Diebler and Dallas Lauderdale, all of whom will spend the night watching the draft (7 p.m., ESPN) and hoping to hear their names called. Of the three, Lighty is the most likely to be taken.

A mock draft on NBADraft.net pegs Lighty to be selected 55th overall by the Boston Celtics, who hold the 25th pick in the second round. In a consensus mock draft also posted by the site, Lighty is forecasted to be taken 12 picks earlier by the Chicago Bulls.

Meanwhile, DraftExpress predicts that the former Buckeye will be selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 20th pick in the draft. A longtime proponent of Lighty's overall versatility, OSU head coach Thad Matta said he feels the program's all-time leader in wins has a solid shot at sticking with a team.

"There's only one LeBron, there's only one Dirk, there's only one Kobe," the coach said. "The thing that I love about David and his chances to play at the next level is if you look at his five years here, he was in every role that a team could have in his time. A lot of times you look at the NBA now and a lot of these teams are really starting to go on character, they're going on fit, they're going on guys that can accept a role and that's something David can do."

Lighty, who has played with six first-round NBA draft picks, is one of 22 players in program history to finish with at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds. A standout defender as well, Lighty spent much of his career playing as an undersized player in the post while using his athleticism and strength to overcome height disadvantages.

"As Dave and I have talked, he probably has about a window of (10) teams that could use his services," Matta said.

Diebler and Lauderdale are viewed as longer shots to be selected. Diebler is known to have worked out for Chicago, Portland, Memphis, New Jersey, Indianapolis, and Phoenix. In various interviews throughout the process, the Big Ten's all-time leader in three-pointers has not pretended to be anything other than what he is: a deadly shooter who could earn a role as a specialist.

"That's what I was successful at when I was at Ohio State," Diebler told BSB. "That's what I did best. That was the player that I was. I tell them that because you don't want to tell a team, ‘I'm going to do this, this and that' and then you get there and not do it. I want them to know if they were to give me the opportunity to be a part of their organization, what they see is what they get and what I tell them is what they're going to get. I'm very confident in what I do best."

After getting married June 16 and celebrating a birthday yesterday, Diebler said he will take in the draft after enjoying a cookout at his family's place on Lake Erie. Asked for his expectations on draft day, Diebler said, "I really don't have any. I've just been enjoying this whole thing. It's been a surreal experience. I'd love to get drafted but I know it's not the end of the world if I'm not. I've been blessed to be doing what I've been doing, to travel where I've traveled. It's been fun to share it with my family."

Diebler does not appear in any of the aforementioned mock drafts.

"He knows it takes one team that's all that's got to like him," Matta said. "He would be a specialist. I'd put him up against anybody to shoot the basketball. I know he's had good workouts. He's going to do what he does. Hopefully something positive happens for him as well."

The former Buckeye said he has not developed a strong feeling about any one particular team.

Lauderdale, meanwhile, played in the Portsmouth Invitational and has worked out for Charlotte, Utah, Toronto and Washington. A player more renowned for his defensive abilities, Lauderdale finished third in program history with 213 blocked shots.

All three face uncertain futures, but Diebler remained hopeful.

"It's tough, but I'm confident that there's definitely some teams I've worked out for who I definitely worked out extremely well for who could use my ability to shoot the basketball," Diebler said. "They're going to do what feels best for them and hopefully they feel I can help them out but we'll see what happens."


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