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When it comes to NBA draft prospects, Keita Bates-Diop and Donte DiVincenzo are exceptions to the norm.
Usually, players fall into one of two categories:
* They are highly touted recruits out of high school who take the one-and-done route to the draft.
* They are international standouts who have already made names for themselves by playing professionally overseas.
Bates-Diop of Ohio State and DiVincenzo of Villanova fit either of those descriptions. This time last year, neither was on anyone’s draft radar.
Bates-Diop was forced to redshirt his third season with the Buckeyes because of a serious leg injury.
DiVincenzo was a role player as a redshirt freshman on a Wildcats roster that featured the likes of big-time prospects Josh Hart, Kris Jenkins, Jalen Brunson and Mikal Bridges.
Both worked out for the Indiana Pacers on Friday.
Bates-Diop said new Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann played a big part in his ascension of the prospects board after averaging 19.8 points, 87.6 board and 1.6 blocked shots a game for the Buckeyes, earning Big Ten Player of the Year honors. The season before as a redshirt sophomore, he averaged 11.8 points and 6.4 rebounds for Ohio State.
“We just kind of created a bond,” Bates-Diop told Wheat Hotchkiss of Pacers.com. “We played off each other, bounced ideas off each other, and it worked really well.”
DiVincenzo averaged 13.4 points and 3.5 assists a game for the Wildcats, making 40 percent of his attempts from beyond the 3-point arc and was named Big East Sixth Man of the Year.
In the NCAA tournament, he exploded in the national championship game against Michigan, pouring in 31 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including a 5-for-7 performance from deep, and adding five rebounds and three dimes.
“Honestly, I don’t think I could have told you I was going to be in this position last summer,” DiVincenzo told Hotchkiss.. “If you told me I was going to be in this position, I’d tell you you’re crazy. It’s been a blessing.”
Having attended high school in Normal, Ill., only a few hours’ drive from Indianapolis, Bates-Diop believes his style matches that of the Pacers.
“I think I would fit really well on this team just because they’re an unselfish team,” Bates-Diop said. “Obviously, they play through Victor (Oladipo) a lot — he’s their best player — but there’s a lot of ball movement, a lot of player movement, and that’s what I’m good at.”