UCSB Notebook: Diebler's Illness And More

As Ohio State prepares to open NCAA Tournament play tonight against UC Santa Barbara, one Buckeye is simply hoping to keep his lunch down. Find out what's wrong with junior guard Jon Diebler and enjoy a few anecdotes about junior guard Evan Turner in this notebook.

MILWAUKEE – Ohio State's vaunted ironman reputation for its starting wings might be in jeopardy this evening in the first game of the NCAA Tournament. As of Thursday afternoon, junior guard Jon Diebler was still feeling the effects of a flu virus that has affected near half his team's roster.

"I haven't had the flu in I don't know how long," he said in the team's locker room. "I just caught it. It's going around the team."

Diebler said he had to leave OSU's practice Thursday morning after 15 minutes because he had to throw up. It marked the first time he had gotten sick since first coming down with the virus Tuesday.

The virus first struck last weekend, when seniors Jeremie Simmons and P.J. Hill started to feel its effects. Classmate Kyle Madsen got sick on the team bus as the Buckeyes drove home from the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis.

Diebler would be the most high-profile player to come down with the virus. The team leader in minutes played this season, he is third on the team in scoring with 12.8 points per game. He also became the school's all-time most prolific three-point shooter during the conference tournament.

After getting sick Tuesday, Diebler said he had been able to keep down little solid food.

"I had a little bit," he said. "It's weird because I feel so hungry because I haven't eaten much in the last couple days and I've got to get some energy, but then again I'm nervous about eating something because I don't want to throw to up again."

Diebler said he woke up Wednesday morning due to hunger and ate a ham sandwich. Other than that, his diet has primarily consisted of soup.

One day before the team's game against UC Santa Barbara, head coach Thad Matta said Diebler was improving.

"We're trying to monitor everything that he's doing and make sure he's getting the right foods and hydration and all those things," he said, "but he had a lot more color when he walked into the locker room here than he had the day before yesterday and the day before when he missed practice."

Thursday night, he was planning to sleep hooked up to an IV.

While sick, Diebler said he did not receive much special treatment from junior guard Evan Turner, his roommate.

"I had no clue what was going on," Turner said. "I thought it was his brother throwing up. His brother was upstairs. When I'm sick, I don't want a lot of people around me crowding. Then they told me to stay away from him."

Jinx? Turner graces one of six regional covers for Sports Illustrated this week celebrating the start of the tournament. Thursday, he was asked if he was worried about any sort of jinx that goes along with being on the cover of the magazine.

"I'm the type of kid (that believes) you make your own destiny (and) will yourself into the situation," he said. "I'm not worrying about the jinx but worrying about what my teammates and I have been doing, which is playing Ohio State basketball and that's it."

Later, UCSB guard James Powell was asked if, since a smaller photo of him ran inside the magazine, he was worried about a smaller jinx.

"Who knows?" he said. "When it's March, anything is possible. I'm not looking at the Sports Illustrated or anything like that. There's a hundred other players on that cover. If everybody was cursed then there would be no winner."

More Turner: As the most visible member of the OSU men's basketball team, Turner was asked about his counterpart on the football team: quarterback Terrelle Pryor.

Pryor, a prep hoopster himself, has said that he admires Turner's basketball abilities. Turner said he has a long way to go before he is receiving text messages from LeBron James like Pryor.

"First, I'm not Terrelle Pryor," he said. "Terrelle Pryor is a pretty big deal at Ohio State. I don't get those type of perks or benefits hearing from LeBron."

And Finally … With a rare chance to talk to Turner one-on-one, this reporter asked the Buckeye junior about his Twitter account among other topics.

"It's just fun, something to do on your phone that keeps your attention when there's nobody else to talk to," he said. "People bring up conversations and you get a lot of information off that. It's really cool. I enjoy it."

As he was speaking, Turner was fiddling with his phone. I asked him, "Evan, are you on Twitter right now?"

Grinning sheepishly, he responded: "Yeah."

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