Lorenzo Romar and the Washington Huskies are not joking around with their class of 2017.
Romar and company landed yet another recruit as 6’8″ power forward Mamoudou Diarra committed to the Pac-12 school on Friday.
Washington lands a commitment from 2017 F Mamoudou Diarra. Averaged 15.4 PPG/5.4 RPG in Vegas last week.
Huskies in mix for No. 1 class.
— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) July 29, 2016
Diarra is a native of St. Louis, MO who has great athleticism, excellent length and a very raw skill set. He had offers from Cincinnati, Marquette and New Mexico, in addition to Washington, but he never really picked up steam nationally.
The forward is not going to have an instant impact in year one like other Washington commits Markelle Fultz (2016) and Michael Porter Jr. (2017). However, with some solid coaching and experience, he can develop into a rim protector, a scorer around the rim, and a possible four-year stud for the Huskies.
As ESPN’s Jeff Borzello pointed out in the tweet above, Washington is in the mix for the number one class in 2017. Right now, the Auburn Tigers hold the reins on the number one ranking due to their haul that includes Austin Wiley, Davion Mitchell and Chuma Okeke.
The Huskies are right behind as Porter Jr., who is ranked 4th in ESPN’s top 100, is the most polished player in the class, three-star guard Blake Harris can take reins at the one-position, and four-star shooting guard Jaylen Nowell is a ranked 45th in ESPN’s top 100.
Porter Jr. will likely be the lone one-and-done player of the class due to his athleticism, length, size and ability in transition, however, Nowell has long arms, a unique athletic ability, terrific burst off the dribble and an capability to stop-and-start on a dime.
Diarra is certainly not the gem of this class, but he adds to the impressive talent that Romar has reeled in to play in Seattle.
Now, the next step (as has been mentioned by me 100 times before) is for the Huskies to break through in the Pac-12 and nationally. They must capitalize on this recent run of talent or Romar could be out of a job without even seeing his 2017 class flourish for years to come.
So buckle up Seattle, you will see numerous pros take their talents through Washington.
Rick Barnes Says He Would Have Left Tennessee if UCLA Paid Buyout
Tennessee head coach Rick Barnes could have been the next head coach for UCLA, instead of Mick Cronin, if only the Bruins were willing to open up their wallets.
Barnes says that if UCLA would have promised to pay Barnes’ $5 million buyout, he would have left Tennessee to take the job at UCLA.
“I think I would’ve been the coach at UCLA,” Barnes said (h/t ESPN). “I’ve said that to people before. I really felt at that time that’s what would happen.”
Barnes was honest and open with his decision process during the news conference, saying that he struggled with making a final decision due to financial matters.
Barnes has since agreed to a new deal with Tennessee that will pay him $4 million per year before increasing to a $6 million annual sum by the end of the contract and provide more cash for his assistants.
“I’m supposed to be at Tennessee,” Barnes said. “And it’s really above and beyond the basketball program. I’m in love with this community. I’m in love with this state. I just think we got a lot of great things going on in this town.”
“A lot of praying went into it, I can tell you that,” Barnes said. “There was a lot going on. When you get down to a situation like that, it has to make sense from a financial standpoint. Bottom line is we couldn’t work it out with the buyout.”
Barnes also informed UCLA that he would not depart Knoxville without talking to athletic director Phillip Fulmer and others in the community.
I told them point blank, ‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with my team,'” Barnes said. “‘I’m not going to walk out of here and not meet with people here that have been really good to me.’ … I said, ‘You just can’t say send a plane tomorrow and we’re leaving. I’m going to make sure this is done the right way.'”
“There was one time in my mind I truly felt that’s what would happen,” Barnes said about potentially taking the UCLA offer. “It got to that point where I felt like my prayers had been answered.”
The Madness is Underway
As we inch closer to selection Sunday, many conference tournaments are underway finding teams who will automatically make the NCAA Men’s basketball. Here are the teams that currently in the tournament:
Atlantic Sun: Liberty
Big South: Gardner–Webb
Horizon: Northern Kentucky
Missouri Valley: Bradley
MEC: Fairleigh Dickinson
Ohio Valley: Murray State
Summit League: North Dakota State
Summit League: Saint Marry’s
Out of the 32 conferences with automatic bids in the tournament, 12 of them have been clinched. All the until selection Sunday the remaining 20 conferences will have their tickets punched. Who will that be? Stay tuned!
Tennessee Basketball Ranked 4th In (Early) Preseason Top 25
A school built on football lure now has a thriving basketball team to get behind. In a early CBS basketball poll, the Volunteer squad is ranked 4th in the preseason. This should bring relief to a fan base whose struggled with a lackluster football team in recent years.
Under Coach Rick Barnes (SEC Coach of the year 2017) the Vols went 26-9 last year, won a share of the regular season SEC title and reached the final of the SEC tournament. Tennessee should return most of their pivotal pieces for the 2018-19 season.
Admiral Schofield (2017-2018 ALL SEC second teamer) who tested the NBA waters has returned for his senior year to play along side Grant Williams (SEC player of the year) and Kyle Alexander. If they can stay healthy along with the supporting cast, this team has a legitimate chance to reach the final four.
According to Andy Katz, “Tennessee is the team to beat in the SEC this year,” and did I mention Coach Barnes recruiting is nothing to take lightly. Recently committed 5 star combo guard, Josiah James added his name to the class of 2019 and pushed the Vols recruiting into the top 10 nationally.
Although it’s too early to tell how this season will play out its certain the hype is warranted and reaching heights it hasn’t seen since the Bruce Pearl era.
Could it be!? Tennessee – a basketball school?
Follow the journey when the Volunteers tip off against Louisiana Lafayette on November 9th.
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