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Basketball: Monty on Diallo: `Fabulous athlete’

Cal coach Mike Montgomery remembers his reaction the first time he saw Idrissa Diallo on the basketball court.

“You’re just kind of, `Whoa, this guy can really run and jump.’ He’s like a 6-3 or 6-4 guy in a 6-10 body and about 230,” Montgomery said of the Senegalese native the Bears signed to a national letter of intent Wednesday night.

Diallo, a senior at Cathedral High in Los Angeles, joins four-star point guard Ahmaad Rorie in a two-man recruiting class that will arrive in Berkeley next fall.

Rated as a three-star prospect by both Scout.com and Rivals.com. Diallo came to the U.S. just two years ago.

Diallo played last season for Middlebrooks Academy in Los Angeles, where he averaged 21.3 points, 12.5 rebounds and nearly three blocks per game.

Still, as a basketball prospect, he is raw with a substantial upside.

“Fabulous athlete. He’s off the charts, athletically,” Montgomery said.

Diallo hasn’t played for five months because he broke his elbow, but Montgomery said the entire Cal coaching staff was impressed with what they saw last season.

He fills a personnel need with senior forward Richard Solomon — a similar body type — due to graduate.

“He stacks up favorably (with Solomon). He’s strong. He pursues the ball. He can really rebound,” Montgomery said. “He’s obviously a little inexperienced. He’s another one of the African kids who grew up playing soccer, like most of them.

“But he’s competitive and we can focus on getting him to get every ball, we can lob to him. Those kinds of athletes are tough to come by.”

Jeff Faraudo

  • BlakeStreetBear

    I wish he could play this year! Between him and Rooks we’d have our decent “3rd big man”. ;)

    Welcome Idrissa! Welcome Ahmaad! Go Bears!

  • Juancho

    Agree with you BSB. This guy will be a star. I actually saw him in the bookstore on one of his visits. Very smart kid too.

    He has all the makings of being a legit player.

    If Jabari sticks around 2 more years, watch out. This team could have the makings of a final 4 team.

  • al

    Kravish is a big man who’ll be back next year. They have 3 this year but I don’t expect much from Rooks. He looks good with his weight loss but is very raw. Will they pick up Sami who committed a coupke years ago, went to juco in Kansas & is now at CCSF. He’s 6’11″ & has international experience but is raw as well – and there’s no guarantee Monty still wants him. I trust Monty because he’s a great coach!

  • wehofx

    Monty’s got us rolling!

    BSB, re: 3rd Big – don’t forget the Thurminator!!!

    Not the kinda player who gets us to the Sweet 16 but last year he was key in helping us make a run for Pac title and beating zona and unlv.

    I enjoyed watching him make his huge jump from first to second year – Kravish and Solo have also significantly improved in their time here. Looking forward to watching Rooks, Mboute(sp) develop.

    Next year we’ll have the 3 Bigs of Kravish, Rooks and Diallo. Feels like we’re in the midst of a very enjoyable run of quality hoops.

    Pure speculation but I think/hope Jabari stays for his second year just so he can put on the 10 to 15 pounds he’ll need to deal w the banging in the nba.

    Read that his father is a guard at San Quentin(?). If true that almost certainly means he didn’t get his degree. It also means that Jabari does not bear the responsibility of rescuing his family from poverty. 2 things that should encourage him to stay 2 or 3 years and put in the hours towards his degree.

  • Juancho

    Wehofx. You are my brother. You are a key contributor to the brotherhood.

    But you are dreaming if you think jabari graduates. On signing day he said his goal is one and done.

    The most i hope for is two years realistically.

    Will he be ready to contribute in the nba next year probably not. Will an nba team spend a 1 on him on potential alone, i think so.

    I think a legit sweet 16 program needs a mix of one and done guys and guys who stay the long haul. You need the star factor in bball.

    Im sure hell add ten to fifteen pounds between now and the draft.

  • Joey

    Jabari looks good as a freshman but has yet to show he is NBA talent after this year. No way he makes it in the first round with the incredible amount of 2/3′s in the NCAA that would push him to the second round. He does look good enough that i would not expect him to stay longer than 2 or 3 years.

    Question for the year is how good will Solomon get by the end of the season and where might he get drafted?

  • Manus

    Yes, hopefully Jabari Bird will stick around for four years to get his degree.

    And, if he keeps lighting up Haas with his scoring, we might have to rename the place, “The Rookery.”

  • Gobears49

    The way Jabari plays NOW indicates he is not ready for the NBA. He’s going to have to improve A LOT by the end of the season to be a high NBA pick.

    Good to see that we are getting a big and athletic player next season.

    Interesting that nobody but me mentions Behrens as a possible 3rd big man this season — only Rooks and Roger Moute a Bidias (somebody needs to shorten that) are mentioned aboe. Behrens is three inches taller than Roger and, if memory serves me correct (he hasn’t played since December), a lot more agile than Rooks. But I’ve only seen two minutes of Rooks playing for Cal. Maybe he’s better than I think.

    And then again, what do I know — I though Frid was a comer based primarily upon his video, but Monty apparently did not see much in him and now he is gone. I’m going to check to see where he’s playing soon and how he’s doing, and will report back if I find anything of consequence.

  • Wehofx

    Juancho, I expressed myself badly or u sped read my magnificent prose:)
    I was making the case JB should stay 2 years. I agree No way he does a steph curry. I do, however, believe his game would benefit from 2 years. It’ll be very interesting to see how he stacks up against the elites from cuse.

    GB49, haven’t seen him play this year. I am hopeful he’ll give us productive minutes in the post but u never know w knee surgery, ie Jalen rise. Exchanged some tweets encouraging him. He’s busting ass.

  • Juancho

    Please accept my apologies Wehofx. My fault.

    I am willing to bet anyone on the board my role as self-appointed democratically elected leader of this blog that Jabari does not stay more than 2 years in total at Cal.

    Let’s keep in mind, he’s played about 3 collegiate games so far. If after the new year he is putting on a show – then let’s hope he goes to the Warriors.

  • Rocko at the beach

    We will find out by Wednesday how much Monty has us “rolling”. So far our OOC competition has been less than stellar. We do need another muscular big man and I hope Monty has his eyes on someone. Maybe from out of the country that wants to play here.