UVA Basketball Recruiting Update: ‘Hoos in market for OAD big man?
Diakite worked out for the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings this week, and talked after the workout with the Kings about the process for deciding his next steps.
This year, college players like Diakite, a redshirt junior at UVA, can return to school without penalty if they officially withdraw from the draft process by the May 29 deadline.
That’s T-minus six days from this writing.
Diakite had left the door open in his original announcement on April 17, saying the draft process will allow him to “test the waters, get valuable feedback and participate in the pre-draft process.”
After his workouts for the Dubs and Kings this week, Diakite said (h/t to JerryRatcliffe.com) that the feedback from NBA teams is “important” as he makes his decision about his future.
“It is a very crucial time for me. I only have a few days left before I have to make my decision. Somewhere tonight or tomorrow I will have feedback from this team and the team I played with yesterday. From there, we’ll see where it goes. It’s very important to get feedback,” Diakite said.
Diakite averaged 7.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 21.8 minutes per game in 2018-2019 at Virginia, but was at his best in the 2019 NCAA Tournament, averaging 10.5 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game during the Cavaliers’ title run, and hit maybe the biggest shot in UVA basketball history, a buzzer-beater that sent the Elite Eight game against Purdue to overtime.
The 6’9”, 230-pound forward/center was one of four members of the NCAA championship team to declare early for the draft – alongside expected lottery pick De’Andre Hunter, projected late-first-round pick Ty Jerome, and Kyle Guy, whose draft stock is rising, with some mock drafts now having him going in the second round.
Diakite has not been getting that kind of love on the draft circuit. He did get an invite to the G League Elite Camp, but struggled there, averaging 4.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in 19 minutes per game, shooting 17.6 percent (3-of-17) from the floor and 0-of-3 from three-point range, in two camp scrimmages.
Ten players from the camp received invitations to the NBA Draft Combine, but Diakite was not among them.
He could still ride the draft process to its conclusion and decide to go pro to play overseas or in the G League, a developmental league affiliated with the NBA.
His comments after this week’s camps seem to indicate that he’s thinking draft or return to college.
“You can look back at the time when people didn’t get to do this. If you were trying to test the waters, you were done. You had no way back to college. Now, we are fortunate to come to great facilities like these, meet Hall of Famers, and go back to school. With that experience, you know how much you got to work and what your weaknesses are,” Diakite said.
Story by Chris Graham