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Men’s Basketball: The Diebler brothers, a basketball family

The Lantern
Jake (left) and Jon (right) taking a photo with their father Keith Diebler (middle) after being inducted into the Upper Sandusky High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Credit: Stan Kear

The “Diebler Brothers” is a name that may ring bells for many.

The trio of brothers come from a basketball-oriented family, and had a decorated career winning the state championship in 2005 for Upper Sandusky High School right in their “backyard” at the Schottenstein Center.

Little did they know fate would lead them back to the place where it all started. Jake Diebler, associate head coach of the Ohio State men’s basketball team, and his brother, Jon, a former Buckeye basketball legend, grew up as Buckeye fans. Although they took different paths, the duo have been a big part of the Ohio State men’s basketball program for the better part of the last 15 years.

“In our house there certainly were extreme levels of competitiveness, ‌even to the extent where my mom wouldn’t let us play a lot of games in the house,” Jake Diebler said.

Growing  up in Gibsonburg, Ohio — a mere two hours away from Columbus — Jake Diebler said he always felt a connection to Ohio State.

“Growing up in Ohio, you’re surrounded by the power and passion of this place and its fans,” Jake Diebler said. “I always appreciated that, but when my brother played here, that grew to a whole new level.”

Jon Diebler is the youngest of the three Diebler brothers and was the first to join the Buckeye family outside of the fandom, committing to Ohio State in 2007. It was almost like fate for him.

“Our grandmother, uncle and aunt all lived in Columbus, and we had always grown up Buckeye fans,” Jon Diebler said. “I remember as a kid in my bedroom, I had Ohio State posters everywhere and scarlet, gray and white paint on my wall.”

Jon Diebler played at Ohio State from 2007-11 and is the Buckeyes’ all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 374, according to Ohio State’s record book .

In his senior year, Jon Diebler averaged 12.6 points per game and shot over 50 percent from behind the 3-point line.

“[Ohio State] means a world to myself and my family,” Jon Diebler said. “I met my wife and had four incredible years there. Some of my best friends are guys I played with, and we still talk daily.”

Jon Diebler is currently the director of recruiting at Butler University, where he joined former Ohio State head coach Thad Matta’s staff last year after a 10-year professional basketball career overseas.

“I think [Matta] built something unbelievable in Columbus at Ohio State, and the culture just kind of carried on,” Jon Diebler said. “They’re doing a great job there now, and my goal is to help him build that again at Butler.”

Playing college basketball at Valparaiso from 2005-08, Jake Diebler took a different route to become an official Buckeye.

Jake Diebler said he initially began his career with Ohio State as a video coordinator in 2013, where he worked on coach Matta’s staff for three years before leaving for Vanderbilt to rejoin his college coach Bryce Drew.

“With our father being our coach growing up, it makes sense that all three of us ended up in coaching,” Jake Diebler said.

Jake Diebler said he initially fought the idea of coaching before realizing how much of an impact he could have in the role.

“After college, I realized the most influential people in my life were coaches, whether it was my dad or the people that have been coaches in my life up to that point,” Jake Diebler said. “In my eyes, coaching was the best way that I could help young people grow both on and off the court.”

Jake Diebler returned to Ohio State in 2019, joining head coach Chris Holtmann’s staff as an assistant coach.

Holtmann said since Jake Diebler is great at individual player development and recruiting, playing a huge part in multiple major recruits for the Buckeyes.

“I think Jake has grown consistently, like you do at this level, and he now runs our offense,” Holtmann said. “That’s been a really good thing for him, and I’m excited about what the offense can be this year.”

Jake Diebler said the Buckeyes are trending in a positive direction, and he is excited about the upcoming season.

“I just feel honored and blessed to be here. I take my role with this program very seriously,” Jake Diebler said. “I want to help push this [program] to that level where we all feel it can eventually get to.”

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