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Virginia alum Mamadi Diakite signs multi-year deal with Milwaukee Bucks

Mamadi Diakite
Mamadi Diakite. Photo by Dan Grogan.

Mamadi Diakite, undrafted after his redshirt senior season at Virginia, earned minutes in the G League, got a call-up to the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, and now, he’s getting a multi-year deal for his hard work.

The Bucks announced this week that they are converting his two-way G League/NBA deal into a full NBA contract.

“I have more to prove, I have more to give to the team and I have more to show to the fans,” Diakite told the Journal Sentinel for a story published Tuesday. “Them doing this shows me that they trust me in many ways, but I still have work to do. I’m someone who always got it out of the mud, and I’ll keep fighting my way through that.”

Diakite, a key role player in the 2019 national title team at Virginia, who then emerged as the team’s go-to guy in 2019-2020, leading the team in scoring at 13.7 points per game, on 47.8 percent shooting from the field and 36.4 percent shooting from three, had a breakout season in the G League in 2021.

The 6’9” forward averaged 18.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game for the Lakeland Magic, shooting 58.3 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from three-point range.

This led to a callup by the Bucks in March.

“I was able to show a lot of my abilities I wasn’t able to show early in my career, but also knowing what’s my place on the team – what can I do in order to help the team go forward when I come back?” Diakite told the Journal Sentinel. “So those little areas that I needed to improve, I thankfully improved those.”

He has averaged 2.5 points and 2.3 rebounds in 8.3 minutes per game for Milwaukee, scoring a career-high 10 points with five rebounds in 23 minutes in a 127-119 Bucks loss to Charlotte on April 9, and scoring eight points with a career-best seven boards in 23 minutes in a 102-96 loss to the New York Knicks on March 27.

His approach sounds a lot like what made him an indispensable player at Virginia – both as a role player and a featured guy.

“Don’t be surprised when your name is called to play – that’s the first thing, first,” Diakite said. “The second thing is obviously being a high-energy guy, a beast on the boards, a primary defender and able to open the floor offensively also for the guys by setting screens, catching lobs, or sometimes shooting the ball.”

Story by Chris Graham

augusta free press news
augusta free press news