When Keita Bates-Diop spoke with the media Wednesday afternoon it was the first time that a member of the Ohio State basketball program had an opportunity to address the transfer of freshmen Mickey MItchell, Daniel Giddens and A.J. Harris that were announced after the season.
Bates-Diop, who said he learned of those departures via Twitter like most Ohio State fans, said he didn't know the transfers were coming but that the remaining Buckeyes -- a group that includes the team's top six scorers from last year -- are closer for having gone through the experience.
“We’ve definitely got a to closer," the forward said. "There’s six of us now on scholarship. I live with four of them. Just living with them we’re obviously close, and then now it’s really just us like a band of brothers type thing, it’s made us a lot closer."
As far as the decision of the three to transfer, Bates-Diop said that they didn't want to be at Ohio State any longer. As a freshman, Bates-Diop hardly played, but was committed to coming back and improving. That decision paid off for him as he started as a sophomore.
“Just I don’t like to quit when things get hard," he said. "Came back last offseason and worked a lot harder and all that and came to where I was this year.
“Yeah, it’s a lot different because, not negativity, but they didn’t necessarily want to be here so (now) it’s all positive thoughts. Everyone just wants to get better and have a better year than we did this year.”
Hisdevelopment was halted towards the end of the season as Bates-Diop missed Ohio State's two games in the NIT after being diagnosed with mono. He said he began to feel the effects of the illness during the Big Ten Tournament but played through the struggles, but as things got worse he was forced to shut things down.
Having to watch was difficult on him, he said, but it was with his health in mind. Bates-Diop dropped 20 pounds while he was sick, though he has since regained the weight and is back to basketball activities.
“It does to finally get back and actually get to work and working to get better," he said.
“A couple weeks after we lost I started doing stuff and then these past couple of weeks I started actually sweating when I was working out.”
For more on Bates-Diop's recovery see the video below.