Moussa Diabate Enters NBA Draft, Maintains Michigan Eligibility

One big man has decided to stay, and the other big man needs more time to make up his mind.

The morning after Michigan basketball center Hunter Dickinson announced he would return to Ann Arbor for a junior season, freshman forward Moussa Diabate made public his intention to test his NBA draft prospects 2022 while maintaining college eligibility. The deadline for underclassmen to declare themselves for the draft was 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

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“Michigan, it was my dream to take my game to the next level,” Diabaté wrote in a statement released Monday by the athletic department. “With that in mind, I think the time is right to explore the NBA draft evaluation process. I’m excited to learn and go through the processes that I’ve heard so much about. It’s important to say that the support and guidance Coach Howard and the staff have given me has been such a gift. I have appreciated all that they have done for me and my family. I will enter my name in the process of 2022 NBA Draft.”

The deadline for early-entry players to retire from the draft and return to college is June 1, with the draft scheduled for June 23.

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Diabate, 6-foot-11, 210 pounds, was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman team by the coaches after a season in which he averaged nine points and six rebounds in 24.9 minutes per game. Diabate started the year as the team’s sixth man, but soon jumped into the starting lineup and held that position until March.

Although his first-year campaign was defined by ebbs and flows – Diabate reached double figures scoring 13 times but also committed four or more fouls in 12 games – the former five-star signing is on the radar NBA for several years. Diabate averaged 13.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks in seven games for the French national team during the FIBA ​​U18 European Championship 2019 after playing with the U16 team earlier in the season. his career.

He was the 17th overall recruit in the Class of 2021 at the time of his enrollment at UM, according to the 247Sports Composite ranking.

Diabate’s unique blend of height, length and athleticism makes him an attractive prospect at the top level, where he could hold multiple positions and continue to develop his offense. He was projected as a limit first-round pick before playing his first game at Michigan, but ultimately dropped most of the mock drafts by the end of the year. He’s a marginal second-round pick by most pundits.

Contact Michael Cohen at mcohen@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Cohen13.

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