A star for the Buckeyes from 2007-11, Diebler still litters the Ohio State record book. The shooting guard is first in program history in 3-point field goals made with 374 and has the two most prolific 3-point shooting seasons in school history. Despite attempting more attempts from behind the arc than any Buckeye in history, he has the second-best career percentage from deep at 41.6 percent. He is fourth all-time in career free throw percentage at 82.6 percent.
Diebler was taken in the second round of the 2011 draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, but has yet to play a minute in the NBA. While the Buckeye great still harbors NBA dreams, his international career – one that has included a year in Greece and three in Turkey – has likely afforded him more interesting life experiences than he would have had in the states.
I spoke with Diebler, a starter with the Pinar Karsiyaka in Turkey, over the phone in May while he was in the midst of a playoff run that would end with a Turkish League Championship. We touched on everything from the shock of living abroad, his connection to the Ohio State program and his Monopoly skills. Excerpts from our conversation follow.
On what he misses most from the United States:
“There are all sorts of stuff that I miss. Usually when we have visitors we have them bring some goodies or some care packages. It’s simple things like my mom or (my wife) Kate’s mom will send us some stuff like box mac and cheese because they don’t have that here.
“I love candy, I have a huge sweet tooth so they’ll send some candy that we don’t have like Reese’s, they don’t have that. That’s big for me. I usually have them send some Aunt Jemima pancake mix or something like that. Fortunately for me my wife is an amazing cook and she does an amazing job of cooking here and not necessarily knowing where all the ingredients are. I’m spoiled, I’ll be the first to admit it.”
On how closely he follows the Buckeyes while living seven time ones behind Columbus:
“I don’t get to watch all the games because sometimes they are on at four in the morning over here, but if they have a Sunday game that is on at noon in Ohio I’ll be able to watch the game. I keep up with every game, I always see if they won or lost and with my brother being on staff there now I talk to him a lot and see how they’re doing and ill text with the coaches throughout the year. I’m definitely locked in and seeing how they are doing. I want them to keep doing well.”
On the Turkish fans:
“I would say in Turkey our fans are the best and one of the team’s in Istanbul, they are really big in soccer and basketball, our two fans are crazy. They do not like each other. When we play that team they actually don’t allow the other fans to come, we played there my first year and our fans started fighting in the gym and they delayed the game for like two hours and then we played with no fans.
“I’ve seen a lot of things been thrown on the court, our fans have been suspended. The league will literally suspend our fans so they can’t come to games. They are passionate man and I love it. As far as safety goes, obviously I want everyone to be safe and be smart, but you can’t control everybody. They love our basketball team. We have like a 5,000-seat arena and we sell it out and it gets loud in there. They’re like Ohio State football fans except there are no real rules, you can kind of do whatever you want without any repercussions. I’ve seen it all.”
On his relationship with other former Ohio State players:
“We talk all the time. (Evan Ravenel) was in Poland this year, Deshaun (Thomas) is in Barcelona, I got to see him play on TV because they play some of the teams in Turkey and he is doing really well. Dave (Lighty) is in France, I talk to him a lot. I talk to P.J. Hill a lot, he was in Latvia last year. I talk to Othello Hunter who is in Greece. There are Buckeyes everywhere. It’s cool, we all keep in touch. We talk almost every other day.
“Last summer, we all got together and have Monopoly night. We are grown men playing Monopoly. That’s just how we are, we like to hang out and enjoy each other’s company. It’s fun, we did that a couple times last summer and that is going to happen again. That just shows the guys that we have and coach Matta always says it, he’s going to recruit high-character guys and he’s done that. We formed these relationships in college and they all last. That’s why we like coming back to Columbus in the summer, why we all work out together and hang out with each other.
“I’m still the best (at Monopoly). I got cheated one day, but that’s alright.”