Ohio State basketball: 7-foot center commits to be a Buckeye

Ohio State basketball added another player over the weekend for what figures to be a highly anticipated season.

Ibrahima Diallo, a 2019 three-star center from Senegal who played at Prolific Prep in California last season, committed to coach Chris Holtmann’s team Sunday.

Diallo is expected to bring several things to Ohio State, beginning with the ability to block shots.

The 7-footer also gives Holtmann both a big man to develop for the future and a backup for Kaleb Wesson, who has entered his name into the NBA draft but is expected to return to Ohio State for his junior season.

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Dayton-area basketball fans have already seen up close what he can do.

He scored 20 points with 14 rebounds and two blocks in a 69-50 win over Springfield in the Flyin' to the Hoop event at Trent Arena in January.

Diallo is the fourth player to join Ohio State's 2019 recruiting class, and adding him moved the Buckeyes into the national top 10 (at No. 9) according to 247Sports.com.

The nation’s No. 154 player (and No. 30 center) joins D.J. Carton of Bettendorf, Iowa, (the No. 28 prospect in the country and the No. 4 point guard), forward Alonzo Gaffney of Brewster Academy in New Hampshire (No. 42 overall/No. 10 small forward) and E.J. Liddell of Belleville (Ill.) West (No. 45 overall/No. 8 power forward) to form what was already considered the best recruiting class in the Big Ten.

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Although college basketball rosters are more fluid than ever nowadays, Ohio State’s for Holtmann’s third season in Columbus appears to be set — unless Wesson ultimately decides to stay in the draft.

Counting him, 12 of OSU’s 13 scholarships are spoken for.

Holtmann could still add another player — in all likelihood only a college transfer who would not be eligible to play until 2020-21 — but is not likely to as future roster flexibility is likely more valuable.

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Andre Wesson, Kaleb’s older brother, is the only scholarship senior slated to be on Ohio State’s roster next season.

The junior class consists of Kaleb Wesson, Kyle Young, Musa Jallow and CJ Walker.

Both Wessons are Thad Matta recruits while Holtmann signed Young and Jallow after replacing Matta two summers ago and added Walker as a transfer from Florida State last summer (he was not eligible to play this past season).

Justin Ahrens of Versailles, Luther Muhammad and Duane Washington Jr. make up the sophomore class, which lost forward Jaedon LeDee to transfer shortly after the season concluded.

Holtmann said last week he believes Ohio State is ahead of schedule when it comes to returning to the highs of the Matta era, which included two Final Fours.

“It  just dominates your thinking in the offseason,” he said after watching Virginia beat Texas Tech in the national championship game. “How do we put ourselves in position to try to get to that?”

Ohio State is scheduled to open the season against Cincinnati and newly hired coach John Brannen in Columbus in November.

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