6’9 – 228 lbs.
A gifted athlete at 6-foot-9, Diakite is a long, bouncy big man who excels around the basket on both ends of the floor. The fifth-year senior was recently voted to the Preseason All-ACC First Team as well as the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Watch List.
Offensively, Diakite’s role is a bit one-dimensional as he needs to be moving towards the basket. He’s fluid and moves really well, so cutting and/or rolling is where he excels; he looks most comfortable as the PnR roll man either catching lobs or receiving passes and dunking off one bounce. His screens are strong and he’s got really good feel maneuvering through the paint to the rim.
His IQ manifests itself in that he’s rarely out of place. I like watching him move without the ball; even the plays when he only moves a little bit, it’s with purpose or creating important space.
For the next level, Diakite will need to show life beyond the arc. He’s not big enough to play solely inside or on the block, so perimeter offense will be a big piece of his evaluation.
In 2018, he shot 5-17 from deep so we don’t truly know what he’s capable of. The clip below gives promise, however, with a nice balanced release that should be difficult to contest due to his length. I really hope to see 1 or 2 deeps shots per game this season as a part of the UVA game plan.
Diakite is a guy who will be evaluated differently, based on what each team sees as his future fit/position. The ability to play on the wing will make him much more attractive; being a 6’9 wing and shot blocker vs. a 6’9 center will vastly improve his NBA chances.
Without question, Diakite’s strength is his defense. Check out these Synergy numbers as he’s nearly elite across the board.
Diakite is a fantastic athlete and owns a 7’3 wingspan. He uses this length and his leaping ability extremely well around the rim, averaging 3.0 BLK/40 as a junior. He plays with a vibe that I absolutely love: when in the paint it’s as if he’s previously let his teammates know “If your man gets by you, I’ll meet him at the rim”. NBA centers will probably give him some trouble due to his size but the athleticism will allow him to hang a bit.His anticipation & timing are elite and should translate well to the next level.
Switchability is also a strength for him, as he can effectively guard 2-4 due to good footwork on the perimeter. He finished in the 94th percentile in catch-and-shoot defense and 96th percentile in defending 3 point shots, allowing only 0.613 PPP. These deep shooting numbers may be a bit skewed due to opposing bigs taking shots, but the skill set and motor on defense remain.
Mamadi Diakite is a winner with a motor that doesn’t quit. While he isn’t flashy on the offensive end, he projects as an excellent role player with defensive strengths. He’s a borderline second-round prospect at the moment, but don’t be surprised if we see a team with multiple draft picks take a shot on him to add depth.