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Season in Review: Mamoudou Diarra

Diarra played sporadically but was solid when he did play. The key now will be adding some offense and being patient on a roster with a lot of frontcourt depth.

Iowa v Cincinnati Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

The Numbers

  • 2.3 points per game
  • 1.9 rebounds per game
  • 0.4 blocks per game
  • .405/.500/.714 shooting splits
  • 109.6 offensive rating
  • 90.2 defensive rating

It’s difficult to get a real feel for what a player can do when they aren’t given a ton of opportunity. However, despite lacking as much playing time as some of his teammates, redshirt freshman Mamoudou Diarra still provided some strong impressions in his first year getting real chances on the court.

Diarra redshirted in 2017 after playing a total of 46 minutes across seven games. He still didn’t play a full season in 2018, but he did appear in 20 contests and averaged 6.9 minutes per game when he was on the floor. He produced 2.3 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in that time, which may not seem like much, but that whole small sample size argument has to be taken into account. If you project his production out over 40 minutes, he would average 13.1 points and 11.1 rebounds. If per 100 possession stats are more your thing, he would be at 20.2 and 17.1.

Obviously Diarra isn’t going to play 40 minutes per game or log 100 possessions each time out. However, there are real indications that he could be a strong defender and important frontcourt contributor on the glass. He ranked second on the team in rebound rate (16.6 percent) and block rate (7.7 percent) while recording a defensive rating of 90.2.

His offensive game still requires a bit more work. Despite posting an offensive rating of 109.2, which means he was 9.2 percent better than average, he only shot 40.5 percent from the field with a 46.2 true shooting percentage. Diarra won’t be asked to become a major threat on shots from long range in the near future, so its imperative that he improve his ability to finish around the rim in order to become a key contributor.

The Best of the Best

Nov. 19 vs. Western Michigan

There wasn’t much offense to speak of, but Diarra registered six rebounds in his second appearance of the campaign.

Nov. 27 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

Diarra flashed some offensive potential in this game, scoring nine points on 4-of-6 shooting including a make from beyond the arc.

Dec. 22 vs. South Carolina State

Since the Bearcats won this game easily, Diarra got a chance to produce eight points and five rebounds.

Jan. 2 vs. Tulane

In the first game of conference play, Diarra still had a role to play and he tallied six rebounds, four points and a pair of blocks.

Feb. 24 at UConn

After the Tulane game, Diarra only logged 10 minutes or more three times the rest of the campaign. This was one of those instances. He contributed six points and six rebounds across a career-high 15 minutes.

For Next Year

The Bearcats are fortunate enough to have the entire frontcourt from this past season back next year. That means Trevon Scott and Nysier Brooks will continue to man the interior on the starting lineup while Eliel Nsoseme serves as the first big man off the bench. Diarra can still create more playing time for himself, especially if he maintains his strong efforts on defense and the boards while creating even a little offensive efficiency. However, it still might be another year or two before he isn’t blocked by more proven teammates on the depth chart.