Diebler back in Columbus, playing in tournament

PHOTO COURTESY OF JOE MAIORANA/IMPACT ACTION PHOTOGRAPHY Jon Diebler, a graduate of Upper Sandusky High School and a former star at Ohio State, attempts a free throw Friday during The Basketball Tournament at Capital University in Columbus.

COLUMBUS — Sometimes it is just like being at home.

After four successful years at Ohio State, 2007 Upper Sandusky graduate Jon Diebler continues to represent the scarlet and gray as a member of Carmen’s Crew at The Basketball Tournament Friday at Capital University.

No. 1-seeded Carmen’s Crew picked up an 88-71 win over No. 8 Illinois BC to advance to today’s semifinal against No. 4 Big X at 2 p.m.

“I’m excited for it,” Diebler said. “This is the second time we are playing in Columbus and I am excited to be here.”

Diebler could never find a rhythm on Friday, scoring just two points on two free throws late in the first quarter.

“I am excited to play with all these guys,” he said. “I know all of them, even if it is just from open gym in the summer time. Being familiar with all the guys makes it special.”

Diebler does not downplay the opportunity to represent the Buckeyes.

“It gives you jitters again,” he said. “That was a while ago since I played there. To be able to represent the university again in this manner is exciting and I know it is exciting for everybody.”

One particular teammate for Diebler on Carmen’s Crew was Aaron Craft. The two played just one year together at Ohio State, but both have roots back to Fostoria. Diebler and his family moved from there to Upper Sandusky while Craft and his went to Liberty-Benton.

“We actually talk about that quite a bit,” Diebler said. “We both had successes where we went. We had some pretty good players at Fostoria.”

Diebler was drafted in the second round of the 2011 NBA draft by the Portland Trailblazers. He has never played in the NBA, and his rights are currently owned by the Chicago Bulls. He has played overseas for the last eight seasons.

“I have been in Turkey for the last seven years and played in Greece my first year,” Diebler said.

After TBT wraps up, Diebler will quickly turn his full attention to the future birth of his first children — twins who are due in August.

“I am looking forward to that,” Diebler said. “I am nervous, but excited. With twins, I hear it is difficult. Well, I hear it is difficult with one.”

Diebler’s older brother, Jake, was recently named an assistant coach at Ohio State. Jake is a 2005 Upper Sandusky graduate.

“I am super excited to have Jake back in Columbus,” Jon said. “He deserves it. He deserves to be here. He has worked incredibly hard and he has got some good experience. He is really good at what he does.”

TBT is a collection of former college players, many with NBA and professional experience. It is a winner-take-all, $2 million purse to the winners.

“In this tournament, every team is good,” Diebler said. “You cannot pay attention to the seedings and that. You have to come out and play hard.”

Upper Sandusky took home the Division II state championship in 2005 with a 27-0 record. The Rams were runners-up to Dayton Dunbar in 2007. Diebler still holds the state record for points in a career with 3,208.

He averaged 41.2 points, 12.3 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game as a senior, taking home the Mr. Basketball award.

“I just remember our state championship runs,” said Diebler of the city of Upper Sandusky. “It has been a while since I have been back, but just like all the places I have lived, Upper holds a special place in my heart.”