Diebler Talks About His Commitment

Shooting guard Jon Diebler of Upper Sandusky (Oh.) proved last year during his sophomore season that he was a big-time college prospect, but it only made the recruiting process tougher. Diebler had already committed to Valparaiso to play with his brother Jacob, but after a few major conference colleges came calling, he had a new decision to make. That decision was made last week when he committed to OSU. Diebler talked with Kyle Lamb about his decision to pick Ohio State.

Most who had seen Jon Diebler before his unbelievable tournament run had a few reservations as to the competition level he was playing. It's not that anyone doubted he could score, but whether he could do it on the bigger stage.

So when Diebler dropped in 33 points, 29 points, and 32 points in his final three games of the season against Akron St. Vincent - St. Mary, Dayton Dunbar and Wooster Triway to help lead Upper Sandusky to a Division II State Championship, the jury was no longer sequestered.

It came back with a clean conviction on the indictment - Jon Diebler could score.

Although Diebler averaged 26.3 points a game as a sophomore, don't feel bad if you were a doubting Thomas in the color-me-uncertain crowd. You weren't alone.

Diebler discussed his commitment to Ohio State on Sunday evening, and it's clear that even he tickled his own fancy with a monumental performance at the Schottenstein Center back in March.

"I had a lot more confidence in myself after playing Dunbar - who is a pretty tough team," he reminisced to the state semifinals. "I think it gave me a lot more confidence in myself, enough confidence in playing at the level that Ohio State plays on."

After that jaw-dropping performance, Diebler said he began having second thoughts of his verbal commitment to Valparaiso - where he had committed prior to his sophomore season to join his older brother Jake who also gave a verbal commitment to the Crusaders.

To that point, Diebler said many teams including Ohio State were interested in him, but most stayed away out of courtesy for his commitment to Valparaiso.

Over the summer, he began weighing his priorities, and his interest was finally peaked. He decided he had to at least look around at some other programs.

"I told Coach (Homer) Drew that I was going to visit three schools right after basketball season which were Ohio State, Michigan and N.C. State," Diebler said of a conversation he had in July. "At that time, Valparaiso was still my No. 1 option. I got to see some great places. Michigan was great and N.C. State was great."

Ohio State though, was always going to have a little bit of an edge when it came right down it, apparently.

"Things happen for a reason. I have always wanted to play for a national championship, and I've always been a Buckeye fan," he explained. "This has been my dream and I've wanted to do this."

"Greg Oden, Daequan and all of those guys being there is great. They have the top recruiting class in the country ahead of me right now, so playing with those guys would be awesome," Diebler added.

It wasn't until recently that Diebler finally made his decision. He said that despite all of his passion for Ohio State, there was a part of him that wanted to stay with his commitment to play at Valparaiso.

Diebler said he didn't make his ultimate decision until last Wednesday.

"After I told the Valparaiso coaches I wasn't going there, I was leaning to Ohio State but I wasn't sure," he said. "I think everything just kind of fell into place. I wasn't necessarily jumping the gun saying I wanted to go to Ohio State right away."

Last season, Diebler was a second-team All-Ohio selection in Division II. He became Ohio State's first verbal commitment for the class of 2007.

He hopes though that he will trigger a series of commitments and other talented guys will follow in-line behind him at Ohio State. He said Cook had gotten to know him pretty well, and he hopes the same for guys like Kosta Koufos and Dallas Lauderdale.

"I think Ohio State, like Coach (Thad) Matta always says, is going to attract people regardless," Diebler noted. "People will want to go there and the program is definitely on the rise."

"We have a real great shot at getting some other real good players in the state in my class, and out of state as well," he added.

Often times recruiting can be a dirty business, and you hear horror stories of negativity and name-calling from opposing coaches.

Respect is often hard to come by. However, Diebler had nothing but kind words for the three programs he visited in dealing with his recruitment.

"The thing that Ohio State, Michigan and N.C. State didn't do was do anything to hurt Valparaiso because they all knew that I was committed and they didn't want to intentionally hurt that commitment," he said. "When I told Coach Drew I wanted to visit, they all kind of said 'OK' and I went to them to let them know I was interested and wanted to take a visit."

"They were all really respectful of Coach Drew and Valparaiso, and they didn't come to me with offers and trying to influence me until I let them know the situation," Diebler concluded of the recruitment.

And now, beginning this season as a junior for Upper Sandusky, he will have to play without his brother by his side. As the older Diebler plays his freshman season at Valparaiso, the younger Diebler will try to pick up the slack for a Rams' team that lost four starters.

That confidence -- maybe even a little swagger that Diebler has now in lieu of his spring cleaning -- was made possible by the brother he decided to depart from.

"Playing with him was awesome," Jon said. "He made me the player that I am, so it's really tough not to go to college with him."

He noted that he will now continue to work on his foot speed and especially his strength in anticipation of heading to the Big 10 in a couple of years.

"Everything really," Diebler laughed in response to what he wanted to work on. "You always have to keep working, but I am trying to improve my foot speed and quickness, and obviously I really need to get stronger."

Just goes to show there will always be a critic. There just doesn't happen to be as many of them remaining.

He has already made a statement once, including for his own benefit. Now Diebler hopes to do it again in two years.

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