Posted On: 09/4/18 7:40 PM
After squandering several highly-touted core pieces from last year’s SIAA Final Four team to both 2018 graduation and the transfer market, DME Academy is beginning to capitalize on the reloading process. The Daytona Beach program has made a loud off-season splash recently, hauling in a transcendent talent in Moussa Diabate of Melbourne Florida Prep.
A surefire high-major frontcourt piece, Diabete possesses a unique skill-set as a hybrid forward capable of darting up and down the floor and manufacturing points in quantity. His presence bolsters a lineup perceived as piecemeal following the untimely 11th hour departure of Keano Calderon and Mayoum Mayoum. Both young prospects, they of the sky-scraping ceilings, wound up transferring to SIAA foe Potter’s House Christian Academy.
You win some, you lose some.
Such is an accurate portrayal of life in the open borders transfer market of the here today, gone tomorrow SIAA landscape. Mondragon tried to shy away from going into a hyperbole when assessing the Class of 2021 prospect’s game. He did say, however, that he envisions the freakishly athletic 6-foot-9 behemoth as a potential draft pick.
“I think he’s going to blossom for us,” said Mondragon, who had a menacing frontcourt of 6-foot-9 and 7-foot-1 bigs en route to the SIAA Final Four berth last season.
“We will use him as a point forward and give him a lot of freedom to push the break. Our biggest focus is developing his perimeter and faceup game and not limiting his potential. He’s very comfortable down low and has already established tremendous footwork. In the half court, we will have an inside/outside threat who will operate out of the high post as a playmaker for our other guards and as a scoring mismatch to slower bigs or smaller wings.”
Any beliefs that DME’s roster might have been thoroughly cleansed following the loss of the radiant aforementioned tandem of Calderon and Mayoum have now officially been thwarted.
Like Mayoum and Calderon, Diabate is a raw talent with a wealth of upside. The Arcadia, Fla. native has worked at creating for himself and really evolving into a shooter who can spread out defenders and extract a mismatch on every other offensive possession.
“He’s Durant-ish,” Mondragon explained. “He’s an unbelievable kid who wants to be coached and is a willing worker.”
There are certainly similarities between Diabete and since-graduated Madiaw Niang, a 6-foot-9 unicorn now at Florida Atlantic University. Niang was a rim to rim presence, constantly yanking in rebounds and filling up every connotation of the stat sheet behind a sufficient motor.
Niang was the source who decimated Downey to the tune of 35 points and tore down 14 boards.
He was the kid who put up a game-best 33 points against now-defunct Arlington Country Day of Jacksonville. Niang made headlines back on Feb. 2, when he had 23 rebounds in a game.
Diabate isn’t as much as a Madiaw Niang clone as he is a similar threat with significantly more potential and size. Niang was a late bloomer. The sophomore Diabete’s best hardwood days are well ahead of him.
“He’s an elite rebounder and his ability to handle the ball will allow him to start the break himself, which will make us even more dangerous in transition,” Mondragon said. “If you remember (Niang) last year, Moussa can do all of that and more. We will be able to throw the ball to him in the high post and play through him. Our guards will be able to post up and will benefit from attacking other bigs. Honestly, he’s so multi-dimensional he could fit any system.”
Diabate also gives DME a considerable advantage defensively. He can create havoc for ball screen offenses with his ability to switch on the 1-5 positions.
With his recruitment still taking shape, Diabete has pulled in offers from UNLV, Creighton, Miami, Virginia Tech, Memphis, and a slew of others.