Cheick Diallo, Freshman, Power Forward/Center, Kansas
18 points, 4 rebounds, 4 blocks, 7-10 2P, 4-5, FT, 22 minutes
After sitting on the bench at Kansas all season, Cheick Diallo didn't shy away from the opportunity to finally showcase what he can do in front of NBA executives, despite being one of the youngest players on the floor at all times.
Diallo showcased his strengths and weaknesses quite vividly, being able to have a very productive game on both ends of the floor, and even finding ways to score despite his somewhat unpolished skill-level.
Diallo's trademark high energy level was on full display throughout, as he ran the floor extremely hard and covered ground much more effectively than most players his size are able to. He was especially impressive on defense, where he blocked four shots in 22 minutes and was scrapping and hustling non-stop, diving on the floor for loose balls and flying around constantly.
Diallo has clearly been working on his shooting mechanics and displayed a smoother and more compact release while in Chicago, which paid off in the form of a nice looking mid-range jumper he hit at one point. He also was the recipient of a number of dump-off passes around the rim, which he was able to get to due to his knack for being around the ball and always staying involved in plays.
Diallo's lack of experience and still developing frame means he still has plenty of room to improve on both ends of the floor, as he's not particularly polished and can look a little to sped up at times. That's to be expected though considering his age and how little high-level basketball he's played up until this point. The fact that he was able to be productive in this setting against players significantly older than him likely helped his standing in the eyes of NBA teams.
“League execs I’ve spoken to Thursday said he’ll go in the 20s (of first round of June 23 Draft),” wrote Comcast SportsNet’s A. Sherrod Blakely, who covers the Boston Celtics.
…“Cheick Diallo is going to be signing a lot of checks and he’s not going back to KU,” ESPN’s Jay Williams said in an ESPN.com video after viewing Thursday’s scrimmage.
“He’s not going back (to KU),” reiterated ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla at ESPN.com. “We were at KU last week (for fantasy camp). I don’t think there’s any indication there he’d go back.” Of Diallo’s play Thursday, Fraschilla said: “There is a lot to like because of the athleticism. There’s a lot to work with there. We’re talking a raw big man. He will probably spend some time in the D-League and will need to improve.”
Cheick Diallo hasn't yet signed with an agent but says he will "probably" remain in the NBA Draft, and the former Kansas big man helped himself with a big-time performance on Thursday at the NBA Draft Combine.
"Well, I'm not 100 percent right now, I'm still thinking," Diallo, who spent one year at Kansas following his time at Our Savior New American on Long Island and with the PSA Cardinals AAU program, said here Thursday. "Probably yes, I'm going but I'm not 100 percent yet."
Diallo is currently projected as the No. 32 pick by DraftExpress.com, but the way he played on Thursday certainly could help his stock.
…"The NCAA suspend me for 3-4 months so I come in late, nothing I can do, I was behind everybody," he said. "I cannot help the team. Sometimes I play 3-4 minutes in the game but I'm a team player, I don't get mad, I'm happy for my team every time."
He added: "If it's not NCAA stuff, if NCAA didn't suspend me, definitely I play more....I was behind everybody. I just come in late, nothing I can do. I was not mad at the coach. Not mad at anybody, Just keep working hard every day."
…Despite his experience at Kansas, Diallo encouraged other players, including 7-foot, 275-pound big man Udoka Azubuike, a native of Nigeria, to come to Kansas, too. Azubuike signed earlier this month.
"Basically, I'm not selfish, I do things for Kansas," Diallo said. "I'm not going to say, 'Bro, don't come here.' I'm not going to say that. He's asking me. I say, "Kansas is nice.' If he committed, fan love you, coach love you. My time here is totally different. It's NCAA stuff. It's totally different. I'm not gonna make you go. If you really like Kansas, commit, I'm not going to force you to do it."
1. Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas without Perry Ellis is going to take some getting used to, but Bill Self is bringing back an awful lot of firepower from the past season's Elite Eight team. Frank Mason III, Devonte' Graham and Landen Lucas all return, as do Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Carlton Bragg Jr. Although Wayne Selden is gone, his spot on the wing figures to be filled capably by freshman Josh Jackson, the No. 2 recruit nationally in the ESPN 100.
Self's biggest challenge could be replicating the previous season's extraordinary (if often overlooked) interior defense. His was the only team that managed to contain the super-charged Villanova offense during the Wildcats' high-scoring tournament run. If that level of defense continues, KU could be looking at more than "just" (ha) a 13th consecutive Big 12 title. The Jayhawks might be a threat to win it all.
(#2 ISU #3 WVU #4 Texas #5 Baylor #6 Sooners)
ESPN Gasaway ($) How will the Big 12 race play out?
Though he’s never coached Kansas guard Devonte’ Graham, Jim Fox knows he will always be linked to him.
Once Fox took over as Appalachian State coach in 2014, one of his first moves was to release Graham from his letter of intent to the school. A month later, Graham signed with KU.
“Our fans remind me all the time. They say, ‘Hey man, look how good he his. Look how good he’s playing.’ He’s dropping 30 a game, 30 in the conference tournament and everything,” Fox said during an interview on our SportsBeat KC podcast Wednesday. “It’s important from our end that him and his people wanted to go, obviously, somewhere else. As a new coach, you want guys that want to be at your university. I’d say it worked out real well for both of us.”
…Graham has since thrived at KU. He started 36 of 38 games a season ago, averaging 11.3 points and 3.7 assists for the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 overall seed. Graham also had his share of personal highlights, which included a 27-point performance and strong defensive effort against Buddy Hield in KU’s 76-72 road victory over Oklahoma. He also was named the Big 12 Tournament MVP.
“Heck, that’s a great story — a guy that wasn’t really recruited coming out of high school and now is playing for one of the top two or three premier programs in college basketball and being very successful doing it,” Fox said. “I really don’t think much about (his earlier commitment) except when you see him play and you joke with your assistants about it. I’m glad it worked out for him.”
Andrew Wiggins and Ben McLemore never played together at Kansas, but the pair are teaming up for a summer return to Lawrence.
Wiggins and McLemore will host their first Kansas All-Star Basketball Camp on July 13-15 at Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Wiggins announced Thursday in a post on his Instagram account.
“I’m excited to announce that this summer I will be back in Kansas with Ben McLemore as we host our first Kansas All-Star Camp staffed by the (KU men’s basketball) team,” Wiggins wrote. “Join us and develop your game.”
Kansas Athletics' Andrea Hudy and the University of Kansas School of Business will team up for "The Business of Sports: Branding Matters" conference on Friday, June 10 in the new Capitol Federal Hall located east of Allen Fieldhouse across Naismith Drive …Kansas men's basketball coach Bill Self will give the opening remarks at the conference.
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!”
BIG 12/COLLEGE NEWS
During Thursday's session with reporters, it's clear the most strident, outspoken supporter of Big 12 change suddenly might not be.
If anything, the 75-year-old former Oklahoma governor walked back expansion. That begged a key question asked privately as Boren left the OU Student Union following a regents meeting.
After all this, if the Big 12 does nothing, is Oklahoma committed to the conference for the remaining eight years of its media rights deal?
"We haven't even speculated on that," Boren said. "We're committed to the Big 12. We haven't even discussed the possibility."
There you go. Oklahoma is in this -- do or die, Cincinnati or BYU, status or quo. There are no deal breakers for Boren even if they come in the form of the 10-team Big 12 doing ... nothing.
This was the powerful president's chance to stir the expansion pot further. On his turf. To send a message to the world. After that hour, it sounded a lot the Big 12 may just take a pass on the whole thing -- expansion, network, championship game.
"I think we kind got out ahead of ourselves," Boren said. "Somehow, the speculation got out ahead of what the reality on the ground is."
Brad Underwood's far-reaching recruiting efforts seem to be paying dividends.
And in a big way -- a big-man way.
The Cowboys have landed a commitment from 7-footer Lucas N’Guessan, a native of the Netherlands who plays for Canarias Basketball Academy in Spain.
N'Guessan announced his commitment Wednesday via his team Twitter account:
The Atlantic 10 and the whole of the college basketball world was shocked Thursday when it was reported that Steve McElvene, the 20-year-old center for Dayton, collapsed and died at his home in New Haven, Indiana.
An official cause of death has not be released pending an autopsy, but ESPN reported that the 7-foot McElvene, a freshman at Dayton this past season, collapsed and could not be resuscitated before paramedics arrived on the scene.
Per the Dayton Daily News, McElvene was pronounced dead at 11:19 a.m. Thursday. His death comes 20 years after the sudden passing of another former Flyer, Chris Daniels, a 6-foot-10 center who died in his sleep during the 1995-96 season.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on Thursday released more than 240 pages of exhibits from the NCAA that support that body's allegations of five major rules infractions.
Mentioned more than 100 times in the exhibits is Jan Boxill, former faculty chairwoman, an ethics professor and the former athletic-academic counselor for the women's basketball team who is accused by the NCAA of committing 18 different violations. The sum of Boxill's violations amounts to one of the five Level I infractions the NCAA alleges against the university.
All five of the allegations against UNC are of the most severe, Level I variety, including “lack of institutional control.”
NBA Draft/Early Entry Guidelines for 2016
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Big 12 Composite Schedule & Results
Former Duke point guard Derryck Thornton will visit Miami on Sunday, then decide between Miami, KU, USC and Washington, Thornton’s dad, Derryck, Sr., tells Scout.com.
“He wants to take his time and make sure everything fits and it’s a win-win for both sides,” Thornton, Sr., tells Scout. Of KU, Thornton, Sr. said: “It’s the mecca of basketball. Legendary coach, legendary program, from Phog Allen all the way down to Bill Self. Tons of players in the NBA, up-tempo style, pick and roll, open basketball. Campus was absolutely beautiful. It’s a big school with 30,000 people. The gym and housing were the best I’ve ever seen. It’s a top notch program and the fan base is absolutely ridiculous.”
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
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