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