After going un-drafted on Wednesday night in the pandemic-delayed 2020 NBA Draft, it appears that former Virginia star Mamadi Diakite found his landing spot in the league. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (and Diakite’s agent, Gary Durrant), Diakite has signed with the Milwaukee Bucks as a two-way player.
Undrafted free agent forward Mamadi Diakite - out of Virginia - has reached an agreement on a two-way deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, his agent @Gary_Durrant tells Yahoo Sports.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 22, 2020
This may have caused some confusion as the Bucks have reportedly signed Jaylen Adams to a two-way contract, and rumors swirled a couple days ago that Milwaukee had come to the same agreement with Kentucky’s EJ Montgomery. There are only two two-way contracts available per team, meaning it would be impossible for Diakite, Adams, and Montgomery all to be signed to the same deal. Jake Weingarten of Stockrisers cleared it up a little bit on Twitter, explaining that Montgomery is on an Exhibit-10 contract for training camp.
In Diakite, the Bucks are getting a versatile player with improved offensive skills and tenacious defense. Diakite redshirted in 2015-16, and improved year-over-year under head coach Tony Bennett.
As a redshirt junior, Diakite averaged 7.4 points per game and started 22 of Virginia’s 38 games. He was a perfect balance to the brute strength of Jack Salt, and worked well in tandem with Braxton Key when Bennett went with a smaller lineup. The 6-9 big man was instrumental in Virginia’s National Championship in 2019, really turning it on in the post season with 10.5 points per game over the tournament.
As a redshirt senior, Diakite had to take on more scoring responsibility following the departure of De’Andre Hunter (Atlanta Hawks), Ty Jerome (now Oklahoma City Thunder), and Kyle Guy (Sacramento Kings). Diakite averaged 13.7 points per game in his pandemic-shortened final season as a Cavalier and added distance shooting to his repertoire as he went 20-for-55 (36.4%) beyond the arc.
Defensively, Diakite finished second in UVA history in blocks for his career with 156 behind the uncatchable Ralph Sampson (462 career blocks). He was named to the All-ACC Defensive Team in 2020 and was a semifinalist for the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year.
The Milwaukee Bucks finished the 2019-20 regular season 56-17, and lost in the second round of the bubble playoffs to the Miami Heat.