PADUCAH – Mali native Cheick Diallo is considered to be one of the best prospects in high school basketball, but he’s not quite ready to dive into the world of college recruiting.
Diallo – a 6-foot-8 power forward in the Class of 2015 – is in his second full season with Our Savior New American (N.Y.), which is ranked among the top 10 teams in the country. Before he got to the United States, Diallo had less than two years of experience playing basketball in Africa.
Though relatively new to the game, he’s managed to land reported scholarship offers from Kansas, Arizona, Ohio State, Louisville, Syracuse and several other top schools.
That’s a testament to his hard work on the court, said Our Savior assistant coach Eric Jaklitsch
“He’s a sponge,” Jaklitsch told the Herald-Leader. “He’s got a lot to work on still, but he’s a willing learner. He wants to learn and that’s his biggest thing. He’s the ultimate competitor.
“He plays so doggone hard that his will to win is just about as good as anybody’s.”
For the time being, Diallo is fully focused on his junior season with Our Savior, which suffered its first loss of the season Thursday night to Huntington (W.Va.) Prep. The Pioneers bounced back the following night to defeat Carlisle School (Va.), another nationally ranked team.
In the loss to Huntington Prep, Diallo had 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots while playing all 32 minutes. The fourth quarter of that contest highlighted what he does best – swat shots, get loose for open dunks and overpower defenders to earn trips to the free-throw line. It was more of the same the following night, when Diallo had 15 points and again dominated the boards in a rout of Carlisle.
While Diallo hones his game, Jaklitsch has been tasked with managing his recruitment. The assistant coach didn’t want to mention the specific schools that have been in the most contact, but he noted that the list was long.
Jaklitsch said he has spoken to coaches from Kentucky regarding Diallo but hadn’t heard from them in a while.
Scout.com ranks Diallo as the No. 6 overall player in the Class of 2015.