Diakite is an athletic player who is still improving as a basketball player.
The native of the West Africa country of Guinea was into soccer as a youngster but turned his attention to basketball as he continued to grow. He came to the United States to play high school basketball.
The 23-year-old Diakite was viewed as a project when he arrived at Virginia and five years later he is looked at the same way by NBA talent evaluators.
The 6-foot-9 Diakite is a skilled defender — his 152 blocked shots rank second in Virginia history — and his offense improved as a fifth-year senior as he averaged 13.7 points and 6.8 rebounds.
Diakite thrived under the tutelage of Virginia coach Tony Bennett and an NBA coach who excels at teaching would be a good fit for his still-developing repertoire.
Diakite’s potential to improve makes him an intriguing prospect for NBA teams despite the fact he started just 52 of 134 college games.
He figures to be a late second-round pick as several teams should be interested in grabbing a likely role player. It would be a surprise if he went undrafted but teams would be lining up to land his as a free agent.
Diakite was a key cog of Virginia’s national championship team in 2019 so he brings an element of success. He is highly competitive and leaves it all on the court.
His size could be an issue in the NBA but his hustling nature will help in that regard. He’ll also need to improve his rebounding.
Overall, Diakite has made strides in improving his game — especially offensively — and he is still developing. That makes him a solid pick near the end of the second round.
MORE 2020 NBA DRAFT PROFILES
- Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis
- Cole Anthony, G, North Carolina
- Desmond Bane, G, TCU
- Yoeli Childs, F, BYU
- Mamade Diakite, F, Virginia
- Moustapha Heron, G, St. John’s
–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)