Just 25 days remain until Virginia tips off against UNC-Greensboro, and that means another day in THE BIG COUNTDOWN. Today, we press forward with our previews (see what I did there?) with new face Mamadi Diakite.
Born in Conakry, Guinea, Diakite came to the United States and played two years at the Blue Ridge School (Va.) before committing to Virginia in the summer of 2015. Diakite, who was originally part of the super-class of 2016 that includes Kyle Guy, Jay Huff, Ty Jerome, and De’Andre Hunter, was able to reclassify and join the 2015 class and redshirt last season.
Now, Diakite is ready to contribute to a front court that lost Mike Tobey and Anthony Gill in the offseason. With a year of conditioning with Mike Curtis and learning the intricacies of the Pack Line, Diakite should be an instant impact on both sides of the ball. Most likely, Diakite will be first off the bench for big men, assuming Austin Nichols and Isaiah Wilkins get the start.
On Virginia’s trip to Spain this summer, Diakite contributed throughout, including adding nine points in UVA’s victory over the Sant Julia All-Stars in their fifth and final game of the trip.
Diakite is lauded for his quickness, ability to go hard to the basket, and an impressive wingspan that will change the defensive dynamic inside (especially when combined with the block machine that is Nichols). According to Virginia’s Men’s Basketball Instagram, he’s also been improving his baseline shooting stroke.
Don’t worry, he still can go to the rim.
Best: Team Style
Check back tomorrow for the the Jeff Jones Player Profile!