Ohio State men’s basketball head coach Thad Matta announced Friday that junior forward Keita Bates-Diop and sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle will not travel with the team for its game at Maryland Saturday afternoon because of family emergencies.
Bates-Diops' younger brother collapsed during basketball practice with his high school team while Lyle's sister is dealing with complications after giving birth. These incidents occurred within days of each other this past week, causing a whirlwind of emotions for the team.
“I’ve never been a part of nothing like this, especially happening back to back, but God works in mysterious ways,” said OSU junior forward Jae’Sean Tate on Friday. “We just got to be there for them, be there for their family, let them know that they’re not going through this alone and just pray for the best.
“It’s just terrible what’s happening and I really don’t have any words. I’m hurting, I know they’re hurting. We’re here for them and they know that, we let that be known.”
Redshirt junior guard Kam Williams said Bates-Diop and Lyle have the team’s full support.
“Like J.T. said, we’re praying for them, we’re going to rally around them when they get back and just wish them the best of luck,” Williams said Friday.
Bates-Diop has not played since Jan. 1 at Illinois, as he has since had season-ending surgery for a stress fracture in his left leg and is seeking a medical redshirt. Lyle has been a key cog in the team this entire season, playing all 25 games leading into the tilt with the Terrapins while averaging 30.4 minutes and 11.4 points each time out.
“We all have to step up collectively when our numbers are called,” Williams said. “Obviously, losing ‘Quan is a very, very big loss to us. He’s a very big, vital part to our basketball team so we all have to step up and fill in the gaps.”
Tate noted that everyone on the team is in pain and that Saturday’s game at Maryland will be dedicated to the teammates’ families.
“Like I said, it’s just terrible,” Tate said. “We’re going through it but we’re going to try to leave it out there against Maryland for them, play for them, play for their families because we’re all one big family.”
With the roller-coaster ride the Buckeyes have been on this week, Williams added that this is the opportune moment for the squad to unite as one.
"Having something like that happen with two big parts of our team, this time right now is when we have to be the most together,” Williams said. “We have to be on the same page. This is a very big game for us. Moving forward, we feel like we have to have this game, so if there was a time where we need to be the most together it should be right now.”
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