Bucks

Diakite’s Dedication Earned Him New Deal

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For most of the season, there has been a lot of buzz around Milwaukee Bucks’ rookie Mamadi Diakite.   

Coming out of high school, Diakite was a four-star recruit with a lot of potential. He had several Division I offers from schools like Washington and USC, but he ultimately opted for Virginia. When he arrived at UVA, he decided to redshirt his freshman year. His next two seasons were subpar to say the least, and he didn’t get his first start until his redshirt junior year.  

In the 2019 season, however, Diakite played a key role in Virginia’s NCAA tournament run that ultimately ended with a championship. If you are a college-basketball fan, you may remember Diakite hitting the game-tying shot at the buzzer to send the game to overtime in the Elite Eight. In the National Championship game against Texas Tech, Diakite recorded nine points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes on Virginia’s way to an 85-77 victory.  

After winning the championship in 2019, Diakite declared for the NBA draft. Later, he withdrew from the draft and decided to return to Virginia for his senior season. That year he averaged 13.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game while starting all 30 of his team’s games. Diakite was selected to 2nd team all-ACC his final season at Virginia 

Draft and the G-league  

Diakite sat through both rounds of the 2020 draft without hearing his name called, thus going undrafted. Shortly thereafter, Mamadi signed a two-way contract with Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Herd is where Diakite would have spent a substantial amount of time this season, but the Herd were one of several teams to opt out of the “Gubble”. Instead, Diakite was sent to play for Orlando’s G-League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic.  

He made his debut with Lakeland on February 11th and played a total of 12 games with them. In those contests, Diakite averaged 18.5 points, 10.3 rebounds and 2.1 blocks while shooting 58% from the field and 50% from three. Diakite was among the best in the G-League, as he was 8th in rebounds and 5th in blocks per game. He totaled nine double-doubles in his twelve games, giving Bucks fans a lot of hope that he would soon be called up. 

After Diakite’s departure from Lakeland, his now-former team went on to win the G-League championship. After the win, the team facetimed Mamadi and celebrated while saying they did it for him.  

Diakite performed so well in the Gubble that he earned First-Team All-NBA G-League honors, NBA G-League All-Defense as well as the NBA G-League All-Rookie team. These accolades are the product of his hard work and he will look to make a splash in any opportunities with the Bucks.

The Diakite buzz

During Diakite’s stint with Lakeland, there was a ton of talk of when he would be called up. To many Bucks fans’ desires, Diakite was called up on March 3rd, making his NBA debut just over a week after.

His Association debut came on March 11th against the New York Knicks. In five minutes of play, Diakite scored his first professional bucket while recording two rebounds and two assists. Diakite wouldn’t play in the Bucks’ next few games, but was given a golden opportunity on March 27th, with four of the five Bucks starters sidelined against the same Knicks.

Mamadi contributed eight points (4/9 FG), seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 23 minutes of action. Although the Bucks ultimately lost the contest, it was nice to see a glimpse of a potential future rotational piece.

Since his debut, Diakite has scored some more garbage-time tick, but got another chance at regular minutes on another starters-take-the-night-off game against the Hornets earlier this month. In this game, Diakite set the bar for his young career, scoring 10 points, five rebounds and two steals in the loss.

It should be fair to expect solid defense and inside play from Diakite when he continues to get his chances. The 24-year-old is 6’9” and has a tremendous wingspan. He has flashed his two-way presence in the G-League and has already shown he will bring that intensity to the Bucks.  

Diakite has already become a fan-favorite and his teammates are very fond of him. He has had success at every level so far, and Bucks fans sure hope he can do whatever necessary to help bring success to Milwaukee.  

Multi-Year Mamadi

On Tuesday afternoon, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Jim Owczarski reported that Diakite and the Bucks agreed to terms on a multiyear deal.

Full terms have yet to be disclosed, but we can expect it will be a team-friendly deal, which will come in handy down the road as the Bucks find themselves rather cap-strapped in seasons to come. Diakite could see an increased role next season should 6MOY candidate Bobby Portis decline his $3.8 million player option this summer.

Portis’ Hustle, Humility Remain Vital Assets to Hopeful Bucks

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