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Mamadi Diakite a finalist for Naismith Defensive Player of the Year

Diakite one of 10 finalists.

NCAA Basketball: Notre Dame at Virginia Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Virginia big man Mamadi Diakite is one of 10 finalists for the 2020 Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year, according to a Thursday morning release. This is the third year of the award, given by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the best defensive player in the country.

For the season, Diakite has 34 blocks and 21 steals as the anchor of the No. 4 defense on KenPom. His block% of 5.3%, is 139th nationally in KenPom, and ninth in the conference. Diakite is a strong rebounder, especially on the defensive end (18.5% DR%), and is averaging just over five defensive rebounds a game in a system where guards are generally in strong rebounding position.

Against Boston College, Diakite took sole possession of second place in Virginia program history in career blocks, breaking his tie with Chris Alexander at 148. He is up to 152 currently, but still well behind the mark set by Ralph Sampson of 462.

Mamadi is one of two ACC players that made the list of finalists. Duke’s Tre Jones also made the cut.

Here is the full list of finalists:

  • Mamadi Diakite, Virginia
  • Marcus Garrett, Kansas
  • Romaro Gill, Seton Hall
  • Jacob Gilyard, Richmond
  • Ashton Hagans, Kentucky
  • Tre Jones, Duke
  • Davion Mitchell, Baylor
  • Zavier Simpson, Michigan
  • Aaron Thompson, Butler
  • Mark Vital, Baylor