Ohio State Buckeyes Receive Surprising Grade for Coaching Hire

The Buckeyes may have something to prove next season.
Jake Diebler led his team to an 8-3 finish in the interim after a rocky start to 2024.
Jake Diebler led his team to an 8-3 finish in the interim after a rocky start to 2024. / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA
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After finishing with a winning record, some still question the validity of Ohio State hiring Jake Diebler full-time.

The Buckeyes received a C+ for hiring Diebler as their full-time head coach, per ESPN Thursday.

Diebler will receive $2.5 million annually and will have other bonus incentives for conditional accomplishments. ESPN marked the signing, perhaps all-inclusive, as a C+ hire initially, citing a possible superficial end to the season:

"This was a difficult job for Division I veterans Thad Matta and Holtmann. Diebler has never had a head-coaching gig. To start in the Big Ten -- which will add four former Pac-12 squads next season -- as his first head-coaching job is a tall task," ESPN Staff Writer Myron Medcalf wrote.

Diebler brought in four transfers to hopefully address all gaping holes left this offseason — in particular, with three seniors graduating and another five entering the portal, a lot of young talent was needed.

So he went out and got Meechie Johnson Jr. to return to Columbus for a second stint, Kentucky's Aaron Bradshaw and Duke's Sean Stewart to pack the paint, and San Diego State's Micah Parrish to address 3-and-D issues.

The Buckeyes return their top scorer and facilitator in rising junior Bruce Thornton.
The Buckeyes return their top scorer and facilitator in rising junior Bruce Thornton. / Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA

Perhaps most notably, Diebler retained rising junior Bruce Thornton, who led the Buckeyes in scoring and facilitating and has provided solid perimeter defense these past two seasons.

Despite all this, and officially signing top-125 recruits Juni Mobley and Colin White, the Buckeyes still received a C+ as their current grade.

Among other notable teams, DePaul — with former Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann — received a B before and now; Michigan, an A with former Florida Atlantic coach Dusty May; Southern California, an A+ with former Arkansas coach Eric Musselman; and Washington, an A before and A+ now with former Utah State coach Danny Sprinkle.


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Gaurav Law

GAURAV LAW