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Matta Gets His (Big) Man

Earlier this week, Ohio State coach Thad Matta bristled at the notion he had lost his recruiting touch with his inability to sign an impact big man in his 2011 or 2012 classes.

Class of 2014 Ohio State Commit: Keita Bat...

Well, Matta has something to show his detractors after Illinois 2014 standout Keita Bates-Diop verbaled for the Buckeyes this weekend.

The 6-8, 190-pound Bates-Diop is rated as the nation’s No. 21 prospect overall for 2014 by 247Sports.com. He is also the No. 3 prospect in Illinois.

Bates-Diop told HoopsIllini.com why he chose the Buckeyes.

"I felt really good about the school and the relationships with the staff,” he said. “The academics are great too and the people I met around campus were great, too.

"I was able to talk to them about anything. Basketball, life, school everything."

Bates-Diop is the latest member of OSU’s Illinois pipeline. He preps at Normal (Ill.) University High School and plays AAU ball for the Illinois Wolves.

He had offers from DePaul as well as a number of Big Ten schools, including Illinois, Northwestern, Purdue and Wisconsin.

He is OSU’s first verbal for 2014. The Buckeyes need big men as, after Evan Ravenel leaves after this season, they would only have Amir Williams and Trey McDonald on the roster next year.

Keita Bates-Diop

Matta signed combo guard Kameron Williams and wing Marc Loving earlier this week in his 2013 class.

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