The Senegal-to-Columbus pipeline has opened.
Ibrahima Diallo, a 7-foot center, committed to Ohio State on Sunday. The Senegal native who plays for Prolific Prep in California chose to become a Buckeye over his other finalist, Pittsburgh.
After months of careful consideration I have decided to commit to Ohio State University @OhioStateHoops I want to thank all the coaches who have recruited me during the recruitment process. My Family and I are excited about the next chapter in my life. pic.twitter.com/IWmZhpWHsi— ibrahimadiallo (@ibrahimaa24) April 14, 2019
Diallo joins four-star point guard DJ Carton and four-star forwards Alonzo Gaffney and E.J. Liddell to comprise the top-ranked 2019 recruiting class in the Big Ten. He will provide depth behind Kaleb Wesson, who will return for his junior season as the team's starting center.
The Diallo File
- Class: 2019
- Size: 7-foot, 226 pounds
- Pos: C
- School: Prolific Prep (CA)
- Composite Rating: ★★★
- Composite Rank: No. 194 (overall)
As a 7-foot, 226-pound center, Diallo has a relatively raw offensive game, but his 7-foot-9 wingspan allows him to be a force defensively in the paint. He averaged 11.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.5 blocks per game in 10 games on the prep circuit as a senior.
"Ibrahima's really embraced his role as far as being that defensive juggernaut for us, cleaning the glass, changing shots, just being super active and then setting great picks in the half-court on offense," Billy McKnight, Diallo's high school coach, told Eleven Warriors on March 19.
Ohio State increased its pursuit of Diallo after seeing him play for Prolific Prep in the Flyin' To The Hoop event. After taking a trip to check out Pittsburgh in mid-February, he took a visit to Columbus on the weekend of March 9 and 10. McKnight said the visit impressed Diallo, leading to a tough decision between Ohio State and Pittsburgh.
Ultimately, Diallo chose to become a Buckeye, adding a defense-first center to the mix.
“I think like more like a defensive player,” Diallo said in February. “I've got skill on the low post. I am athletic. I'm a shot blocker. I can shoot around a 15 footer.”
#FTTH2019— SUVtv (@SUVtv) January 20, 2019
Ibrahima Diallo finished with 20pts, 14reb, 2blk for @ProlificPrep in their @FlyinToTheHoop win last night@ibrahimaa24 @nv_sports_live @coachpdoherty @coachbmcknight #SUVtv #ABACE pic.twitter.com/JbAWeJjinu
Diallo grew up in Senegal playing soccer, but eventually learned how to play basketball and convinced his parents to allow him to leave Africa and pursue his dream of playing in the NBA in North America. In 2015, Diallo left his home country and enrolled at Victory Rock Prep in Florida, where he went to school until transferring to Prolific Prep before his senior season.
At Prolific Prep, his defensive skills continued to blossom as his offense developed, leading to the late interest from the Buckeyes.
“They say they like my energy, like the fact I run the floor,” Diallo said on Feb. 22. “Like my defense, how hard I play for every possession. That's the thing they like about me. They like that, and they think I would be helping them a lot, like the way I play hard, it's going to be really good for them.”
With the commitment of Diallo, 12-of-13 scholarships for next season's team are filled.