Senior Matchup (PF): Kelan Martin vs. Keita Bates-Diop, Jae’Sean Tate

To checkout our full NCAA Senior rankings you can look at the 2018 NCAA Index.  Throughout the season will be breaking down intriguing positional matchups between a wide-range of players.  This week we check in on a group of 3 power forwards or also known as big wings, stretch 4’s, or versatile tall inside-out players.  Whatever you want to call them, but the 4 position is not only becoming the scarcest position in basketball, especially in Europe, but it’s also possibly the most important and definitely the most versatile

Butler won 67-66. With 6 minutes left in the game Ohio State had a 14 point lead but Butler came back to force overtime and eventually won in OT on a game-winning Martin layup with 4 seconds left.


Kelan Martin | 4 | Butler

Line: 24 points (2/12 3FG), 6 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 steals

Style: Grab n go 4, pushes it off every rebound.  High volume three-point shooter.  Takes tough shots. Skilled and strong.  Undersized with average speed.  But he really finishes, physical gritty player.  He’s their go-to guy.  Has a thicker, more compact frame, very strong.

Game/Matchup: Good handle, never even looks for the outlet but just pushes the ball off a rebound.  Spotting up a lot, auto fire off the catch, hit a pull-up.  Mainly matched up with Bates-Diop.  Doesn’t have a quick first step but is very crafty with pump fakes, catching on the move, getting the defender off balance and finding a driving angle.  Power finisher.  Did elevate for an open dunk once in semi-transition but also got block right at the rim by a guard off a baseline cut another time.

Did get into spin and pivot move finishes when he couldn’t get right to the rim.  Has a super pivot game.  Creates space on 3’s without dribbles just by jabbing.  Took some tough, contested 3’s late in regulation that Butler was rushing, so his 3FG attempts are skewed. Though he did force shots.  But they ran pin-downs for him, their BLOB play out of a timeout to end the half was an off ball screen to free him up for a 3 (he missed).

Bates-Diop wasn’t an easy matchup but Martin worked him pretty good.  Martin got by him a couple times and made contact finishes at the rim.   Final possession of OT (Butler down 1), he takes Bates-Diop 1v1, where he jabs forward, gets the step on him and finishes a tough lefty lay-up to win the game.  But he had the advantage vs Tate, here are some notes on drives vs Tate in the 2nd half: 1. Catches going downhill off DHO, Tate takes a bad angle, Martin gets to rim and finishes thru contact. 2. Martin fakes a post entry on Tate who jumps up giving room to drive middle, Tate recovers but Martin initiates contact and pivots for a layup. 3. Pump n go on Tate who jumps slightly, Martin gets a step to rim but runs over thru a back-pedaling Tate, charge (questionable call).  Putting a smaller player on Martin just isn’t the answer.

Defensively Martin was really engaged, fairly emotional player. In the first half he jumped a pass in front of Bates-Diop at the top of the key, he tapped the ball but wasn’t able to finish the steal. Second half he read the same play and intercepted it and drew a shooting foul. Big momentum play.  He was really good on closeouts, active hands 1v1 defensively, even got a steal off a Bates-Diop drive in OT. He’s always in his stance.  They did have him guard the opposing 5 a couple possessions and he just wasn’t big enough, got taken advantage of on post-ups.

Keita Bates-Diop | 4.3 | Ohio State

Line: 16 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 4 turnovers

Style: He’s 6’7″/6’8″ but with a 7’2″ wingspan he looks much bigger.  Is a towering force.  Plays mainly outside, stretch and drive big man.  Big time rebounder. Not a super athlete but is so long, mobile, and agile enough, he makes for a tough cover. Is a legit stretch big but still takes care of his interior responsibilities.  Had a stress fracture in his left leg and only played 9 games last season. Seemed like their best offensive weapon but he’s not such a 1v1 player, not quick.

Game/Matchup: Looked like kind of a methodical player, somewhat similar to Martin but trying to make something happen off the bounce more, had trouble gaining separation. Like Martin though is a jump shot based offensive player.  In the first half he hit a tough 3, missed a mid-post catch and auto fire, and missed a pull-up 3 in semi-transition. But willing to take a variety of jump shots. Front rimmed a lot of shots including 3’s and in the lane push shots, announcer even noted it.  Took a while for him to get warmed up.  

In order to have a successful drive he needs to go against a close-out, off a catch or be on the move, unless the defender is just inferior like when Butler had a freshman on him.  Finally later in the first half he got a close-out opportunity off an offensive rebound, goes left and hits a tough runner.  Then he caught Martin off guard, and took one dribble from the 3 line to the rim.  Did it again vs another defender.  Doesnt have an initial burst from a stop but once he gets slightly moving he’s so long it’s two steps, one dribble, and he’s at the rim.  Is always a candidate to rebound his own miss.  Had some problems under pressure.  Turned it over twice when doubled in the post and dunker.

Played mainly on the 4 but looked comfortable also guarding the 5.  Because of his length and kind of hulking demeanor he just looks like a tree.  Didn’t have a block but Martin was really stretching him out so few chances.  Did disrupt some shots, has rim protection ability.  Martin and Bates-Diop really separated themselves in the game but overall Martin narrowly won the match-up, made more big plays and was more intense defensively.  Tate was a notch below them but is at their level physically.

Jae’Sean Tate | 3.5 | Ohio State

Line: 9 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 turnovers (fouled out in regulation)

Style: Tate is an undefinable as a player. You can put ATH down cause he’s just an athlete.  He’s smaller than the other two (6’4″) but a better athlete.  Can call him a combo-forward but he plays 5 sometimes on offense. Will play as a wing ball-handler and even shooter and also will set on ball screens and sit in the dunker waiting for drop-offs.  I actually wrote in the wing preview post his body reminded me of college PJ Tucker but now I’m starting to think he’s more Le’Bryan Nash.  Tate doesn’t really have one role but he’s certainly a freak athlete.  Smooth, quick twitch, is just a compact ball of force.

Game/Matchup: Guarding a 3 but then playing in the dunker on offense to start the game.  Had a couple dunk finishes off of guard drive dump-offs.  All his rebounds were defensive but he didn’t push any of them, gave right up to a guard.  When he had a guard on him he went right into a quick post but missed a turn around flip shot.  Can body smaller players but is not a touch finisher.  Better when getting the ball in space.  Was 0/3 3FG in first half.  Form isn’t consistent.  He was guard by guards, forwards, and even the center some.

When Butler went to a 1-3-1 zone he just ran the baseline for an and-1 dunk and immediately got them out of it.  That’s 3 baseline dunks off no dribble finishes.  Is a freak when he has space to finish and the play is a quick reaction.  Had a DHO vs Martin, drove, spun and finished on him, was just too agile but also strong enough to take some contact before the finish.  Late in the shot clock in clutch time he just put his shoulder down, drove and got called for a charge. Had one super nice touch pass to corner from the elbow.  So much better when he makes a play right away and doesn’t hold on to ball.

As mentioned above had problems guarding Martin, tough matchup for him.  But he also went for easy shot fakes and took bad angles.  Just can be late with his defensive movements.  But still has athleticism and instincts, blocked a deep Martin 3 off an offensive rebound.  Just ripped the ball back from Butler center after he had gotten a rebound and went right back up to draw a shooting foul.  Power athlete.