Head coach Tony Bennett offered a scholarship to Blue Ridge (St. George, VA) star power forward Mamadi Diakite following UVa’s Elite Camp in August of 2014. Virginia has been the presumed favorite ever since, and today Wahoo Nation received the news they were hoping to get: Diakite, a super-athletic 6’10” post prospect, has committed to the Cavaliers.
“The first reason I committed was because I love it out there,” Diakite said of UVa. Click here to read his commitment tweet, which is complete with a photo Cavalier fans are sure to like.
“I fell in love with UVa and Charlottesville since the first time I was there. I like the players, the coaches… they are really nice. That’s the first thing. The second thing is I think it is the right place for me to study. I do want to make it to the league, but I want my degree. So when basketball is over, I can just work somewhere.”
At the NBPA Top 100 Camp this past June, Diakite, a native of Guinea who moved to the U.S. in the early part of 2014, was quoted as saying that his advisor, Hassan Fofana, would have “like 40-percent” input on his decision, adding that his parents “have 50 and I have like 10. I’m new here, so I’m still learning and I’ve got to be listening to them and get more experiences about what to do in a new country.”
With his decision made, Diakite discussed his parents’ opinion of UVa.
“My parents care about academics. They like [UVa] first because the academics are great,” Diakite said. “The second thing is the coaches have heart. That’s what they are looking for. The first day they visited [UVa], they fell in love with the coaches.”
Diakite has seen his stock rise significantly over the course of the past year. He is now rated a 5-star prospect by 247Sports.com and ESPN, Rivals and Scout all rank him as a 4-star recruit.
While a large number of schools expressed strong interest, Diakite only took official visits to three: Southern Cal, Washington and Virginia. His parents accompanied him on all three trips, which occurred in the spring of this year. Following an impressive stint on the AAU circuit, Diakite was ready to make his college choice.
“I wanted to get it done. At first I was just trying to play basketball. After that, I’m just trying to be finished with everything,” said Diakite, who capped off a strong spring and summer by helping Team Africa to a third place finish at the Adidas Nations event. He also earned an invite to the Adidas All-American Camp in July.
Rumors have been circulating the past few months that Diakite could possibly reclassify to the class of 2015. Is this a reality?
“Maybe,” Diakite answered when asked about the possibility of enrolling at UVa this year. If there is a definitive date when he will know if he gained fall admission, he does not know it.
“It doesn’t matter to me if I’m still in [the class of 2016]. I wanted to be done. I’m a UVa commit… so go UVa!”
Even if the reclassifying option falls though, look for Diakite’s choice to stay the same.
“I’m not going to decommit,” he said.
If Diakite enrolls at Virginia with the class of 2016, he’ll be joined by consensus 4-star combo guards Kyle Guy and Ty Jerome as well as forward Jay Huff, who is rated a 4-star by a few recruiting outlets. Austin Nichols, a former 5-star forward out of Tennessee, recently transferred from Memphis to UVa and will become eligible to play in the 2016 season.
Diakite has gotten to know Guy and Jerome on the recruiting trail, and he looks forward to playing alongside them in Charlottesville.
“I get along with them,” Diakite said. “I think they’re cool. They’re good people. They make good grades and they love playing basketball. I want to be with those kinds of guys.”
With Diakite in the fold, UVa’s 2016/2017 season roster is as follows. Barring any further attrition, the Hoos now have one scholarship spot remaining in the class of 2016.
(Note: You can always check out the basketball scholarship situation by viewing our Scholarship Picture Page.)
Point Guards: London Perrantes (SR), Darius Thompson (JR), Ty Jerome (FR)
Wings: Devon Hall (JR), Marial Shayok (JR), Kyle Guy (FR)