Cheick Mate: Diallo Signs at Kansas
|2015 Men’s Basketball Signees|
|Carlton Bragg||F||Cleveland, Ohio|
|Cheick Diallo||F||Centereach, N.Y.|
LAWRENCE, Kan. – McDonald’s All-Star Game and Jordan Brand Classic MVP Cheick (pronounced Shek) Diallo has signed at Kansas and will be a Jayhawk next season, KU head coach Bill Self announced Tuesday.
Originally from Mali, Africa, Diallo comes to Lawrence from Centereach, New York. He is a five-star player and recently jumped up from No. 11 to No. 7 on the ESPN100. Those who didn’t already know him became quickly familiar after Diallo tallied 18 points and 10 rebounds to claim MVP honors at the McDonald’s All-American Game. Still rolling, Diallo put on a clinic at the Jordan Brand Classic with 26 points and 11 rebounds, picking up another MVP title.
“Today is a huge day for our Kansas basketball program,” Self said. “It has been our focus and our top recruiting priority to try to sign an inside presence and a rim protector to go along with our returning players. We feel like we’ve been able to sign a premier big man that has as much upside as any big we’ve recruited in recent memory. Cheick reminds me so much of Thomas Robinson, late in Thomas’ college career. Cheick has a great motor. He runs as well as any big guy that we’ve had and certainly has a knack for finding the ball. He’ll bring a toughness and aggressiveness to our program. “
Diallo joins Carlton Bragg in KU’s incoming class of 2015. Both are McDonald’s All-Americans, with Diallo becoming the 38th in KU basketball history. Perry Ellis and Wayne Selden, Jr., are current McDonald’s All-Americans on the Jayhawk roster.
“With the addition of Cheick and Carlton and with what we have coming back, I think this puts us in a great position to be a much improved team next year,” Self continued. “We are still actively recruiting a few more players, but this could not have turned out any better for us with the two that we’ve signed.”
Diallo is widely known for his defense and length and, at 6-9, has the ability to step into a rim protector role for the Jayhawks. In high school, Diallo played at Our Savior New American in Centereach, averaging 17.6 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game during his senior campaign. The 2014 and 2015 New York Gatorade Player of the Year, Diallo also chalked up 18.5 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks per game as a junior.
“Cheick comes from a high school program that has won big at Our Savior and certainly has been well drilled there,” Self said. “Moving to the (United) States from another continent would be an adjustment for anybody but because of people in his life that are close to him, primarily Tidiane Drame, he’s been able to make the transition quite well. We anticipate his transition to college to be very seamless also.”
Much like Cameroon native, Joel Embiid, Diallo started his basketball career much later in life as he grew up playing soccer. Embiid played for Kansas in 2013-14, earned the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors and went on to be selected with the No. 3 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.
“Personality-wise, I would compare him much closer to Joel (Embiid) but from a playing standpoint, I think he’s much closer to Thomas, the same size, same body, same type motor,” Self said.
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