Louisville Cardinals Junior Center #10
6'11" 235 Pounds 23 Years Old From: Dakar, Senegal
Overview: Dieng has truly blossomed during his time at Louisville into one of the best defensive big men in the NCAA. Dieng is an integral part of the success of Rick Pitino's defense and gives the Cardinals a decent shot at winning a national championship this season. He was recently named the Defensive Player of the Year for the Big East Conference this season. Dieng is blessed with tremendous physical gifts. His nearly seven foot frame, coupled with his wingspan of seven feet and five inches makes him a force to be reckoned with defensively and on the boards. Dieng also has tremendous athleticism that significantly enable him to be an extremely active defender who is very quick on rotations, making him a great help defender. While a little old for his college class, at 23, he has proven that he can become an NBA worthy contributor right away on the defensive end of the court.
Offensively, he is a work in progress. Dieng has a limited offensive game and some downright weaknesses offensively. He can score above the rim and on putbacks, but his face up game is undeveloped. Dieng has very little range on his jumpshot and is typically not a threat to score when he catches the ball in the high post. Although he is not a good scorer from this spot, he has proven to be unselfish and actually has extremely good court vision and can distribute the ball efficiently to his teammates from the high post. Dieng is most lethal on the offensive end of the court when he is placed in a high screen and roll with either of Louisville's talented guards, Russ Smith or Peyton Siva. He is a great screener with his big body, which often allows his guards to turn the corner and penetrate into the defense. When he rolls to the basket hard, he is a threat to score due to the fact that he'll catch the ball near the hoop with a lot of momentum and his athleticism often takes over and gets him to the hoop.
He has a limited post game however; he can sometimes score very closely to the hoop with a quick, simple move, typically either a dropstep or a hookshot but he has trouble consistently scoring from these spots. When he doesn't have the ball, he's extremely active on the offensive end of the court. He is often moving around the court, spacing the floor and setting screens for his teammates to score. Along with his off ball movement, he does a tremendous job of moving into prime offensive rebounding position when one of his teammates shots goes up. Because of his positioning and athleticism, he cleans up the offensive boards very well, which provide him with easier scoring opportunities. While he does a good job grabbing offensive boards and scoring off them, occasionally he gets flustered and will bring the ball too far down below his shoulders as he loads up his legs to slam the ball through the hoop which sometimes leads to defenders snatching the ball from him or tying him up.
Dieng's impact at the next level will undoubtedly come on the defensive end of the court. He is big, strong, athletic, and has tremendous length. He has great lateral quickness, which allows him to rotate quickly to play help defense which is where he gets a good portion of his blocked shots. His long arms allow him to challenge shots without fouling as well as disrupt potential passing lanes for his opponents. He is incredibly active on the defensive end, usually hopping around, whether on ball or off the ball. Occasionally, his mere presence in the lane will cause a driving offensive player to think twice, panic, and travel, creating turnovers. His presence helps the Cardinals force their opponents to attack the paint less often than they normally would. A lot of people in the NBA are paying attention to the importance of Larry Sanders both altering his opponents' shots as well as his ability to deter his opponents from even driving into the lane. Dieng plays a very similar role. Lastly, although he has premium athleticism, he doesn't slack off on the rebounding end. Dieng is still sure to find a body to box out and move away from the hoop in order to secure the ball for his team. To put it simply, he does everything on the defensive end that a team would hope for in a big man.
Overall, Dieng is limited offensively. He may develop a bit of a better feel and may slightly increase his jump shot but he'll never be a true scoring threat. He's already 23; while that typically would lead to questions regarding his room for improvement, he has gotten much better in each of his years under Rick Pitino, indicating that he still may further develop once drafted. He's a tremendous defensive player and rebounder who always gives top effort. Every team in the NBA values players like him and while he's not complete enough a player to warrant a lottery selection, he should have no trouble getting drafted in the first round should he choose to declare.
· Dieng is a great defender whose sole presence will take away high percentage shots his opponents would have otherwise had.
· His wingspan and athleticism make him a very good help defender, which is where he racks up a lot of his blocks.
· He rebounds extremely well. While he has a size advantage in college, he still goes through the process of boxing out in college which will help him in the NBA when he will not always have a height advantage.
· He is a hard worker who constantly gives full effort on the court. He has gotten better every season at Louisville.
· Dieng has a few good post moves and can score on putbacks off the offensive glass. He is a willing screener and is dangerous rimrunning off the roll on a pick.
Areas to Improve
· He has a tendency to bring the ball down on rebounds to load up to jump back up on his putback attempts. This can allow guards to tie him up or snatch the ball.
· He doesn't have much of a face up game. He will want to improve his jump shot to become a more complete threat.
· Adding a little bulk could benefit him as well. He will be matched up defensively with some pretty physical big men in the NBA next season and the stronger he gets, the more effective he can be.