Did Mamadi Make the Right Decision?

Had this thought rolling around my head for a few days now and wanted to bring it to the forum to get some feedback. Did Mamadi Diakite make the right decision in coming back? In May and going into the year I believed he did, and he needed another year of seasoning (plus I knew the Hoos needed him).

However, after watching the first half of the season Mamadi has been good, but I’m not sure I would say he’s been solid. Or maybe better put, I wonder if his time on the court this season is exposing holes in his game that could actually cost him in the talent evaluation process?

Take away the 21 point outburst against SC and he is averaging 10.2 Pts a game since December, He’s also averaging 6.2 rebs and 2.7 TOs during that stretch.

None of those stats are bad and none of this is meant to be a dig at him as a player or a person. I’m just wondering if the extra exposure could actually hurt his draft stock and potential at the next level?

It’s the same reason why I totally thought Kyle Guy made the right decision in leaving early, same for Justin Anderson. When the focus becomes totally on them and their game, and you combine that with a new role and a shifting lineup they are open to the potential of a setback. Combine that with the fact that bloggers and fans like myself like nothing more than to sit back and critique it can become a difficult situation.



Great observation. Mamadi obviously has the tools to play at the next level. Being the focal point, someone that the offense has to play through, can definitely expose flaws. Sometimes I think Mamadi needs to play at 90%, a bit more under control. At the same time I’m sure he knows that generally he HAS to be good for this particular team to reach max potential.


I agree with you. I don’t think he has done anything to help his stock. He is tremendously athletic which will do him good at the next level but I don’t see where he has a “go to” move that he can depend on. He likes to put it on the floor but usually gets into trouble after two dribbles. His stock may have been highest last year after the Purdue game and Final Four.


I love MD, but if I am being honest, I have never thought the NBA was in his future. I think he will make plenty of money playing the sport that he loves elsewhere. Zero shame in that. I also would be very happy if I am wrong & we see him ballin’ in the NBA down the road!


I don’t think staying has necessarily hurt him because I don’t think anything new has been exposed. Mostly, Diakite needs to show improvement on his 3 point shot at a higher volume, his ball handling skills, and general game awareness. Nothing that’s happened this season so far has caused any NBA scouts to reassess his existing strengths and weaknesses. On the other hand, I would agree that what may be getting further exposed is his lack of potential to improve in those areas. Though that probably would happen in the G League as well.

Diakite would not have been drafted last summer and would be in the G League or overseas now. The bigger question for me is whether he would be showing more improvement in the G League (and earning decent money) than he has at UVA. He’d definitely be spending more time on his game in the minor leagues, but may not be getting better coaching or otherwise be in a more helpful environment development-wise for him. In the end, Diakite and the UVA coaches know a lot more about him than I do, including what else in life is important to him, so I’m assuming he made the best decision for himself and and I’m glad he’s playing at UVA this year.


It’s a fair question. He’s probably going to be in the same situation next year that he would have been if he had left. Maybe he gets drafted but at best signed to a 2 way deal. To stick in today’s NBA, unless you’re an other worldly athlete, you need to either be a high level shot maker or an elite rim protector to stick. Mamadi has a chance at being just good enough in both areas to carve out a niche. His age is working against him though. Most teams would rather use their 2nd round pick on a 19 year old with a higher ceiling even if he’s less likely to make it.


All great points so far. I definitely appreciate the feedback. Like I said this is something I’ve gone back and forth with. My worry is that he falls into the situation closer to what @HoozGotNext described. With his current skill set and his age that could work against him if it’s a close decision between him and another late 2nd round pick.

I also wonder if he would have been better learning on the job in the G league or overseas this season rather than at UVa. I imagine whatever role he lands at the next level it will not likely be that of a go to scorer and have the offense run through him. Honestly I think he is at his best when he is a 3rd or 4th option and able to roam and use his athleticism, which is closer to what he’d do at the next level. Now he’s working on a role and a skill set that he’s not going to be asked to deploy.


I have heard from some people in the know that Mamadi would have been drafted last year in the early/mid second round. So take that for what it is.

One good thing for Mamadi right now, is that the draft this year is weak. If he has a great stretch in March, that can carry him into the lottery. A lot of basketball still on the table.

Me personally…always thought Mamadi should’ve stayed in the draft…but nothing wrong with betting on yourself to improve.


There’s definitely something to be said for striking while the iron is hot. Kyle Guy can vouch for that.


Yeah, I’m not sure what to say. Yet again, There are still 20+ games left in the season and so much can change in that time

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Thought Mamadi made the right choice. He was barely on anyone’s radar until the NCAA tourney last March/April. While he played inspire ball and hit an epic shot for the ages, he was at best the 4th option on offense and never the focal point of opposing defenses. And since G-League was the best he could do, it made sense to return.

This season, it is Mamadi’s team. He can sharpen his leadership skills and it’s much easier to develop in that area with a program and system he’s accustomed to. As someone mentioned prior, there are 20 games remaining. This team is still growing and developing, albeit some fans seem more interested in looking toward next season than patiently supporting the required foundation that being built for this year that conveys to ‘20-‘21. If Mamadi can get on a roll, I like his possibilities. But from my lens, he needs to let the game come to him more. That’s why it is encouraging to see both Braxton coming on strong from the wrist injury and Kody re-emerging from the early season illness.


I have been following this and love the discussion as is pertinent not only for our team but in general.

Mamadi did a very smart thing. He won the National Championship and took advantage of the rules to test the waters. Why would he not! He got NBA type training and evaluation and made his decision to return which I personally agree with. He knew what to work on all summer long.

Now the flip side. Mamadi was a perfect complement to our team last year surrounded by Great future NBA players. In my eyes he played almost perfectly last year in every way and hence became a starter in our NCAA run. However he needed Ty Kyle DeAndre and even Salt for that. What he is doing this year is trying to fill the void of leadership AND playmaker for the team. For me I applaud how serious he is about all of it.

He told us on our podcast that NBA people told him if he averages 13 per game at UVa that translates to 20 anywhere else. He is a very thoughtful guy with great and different perspective for the game and his team and for me he cannot have made any “wrong” decision.

Lastly, when he plays with NBA players we will all see his value and skills. We all know that is not on our team yet this year. I dont think the GLeague would have displayed that either. But it will come through at whatever next level he gets to.


Great take @DFresh11 I totally agree that I love that Mamadi took advantage of the new NBA rule, I think that was absolutely the right decision.

Also agree on MD’s role last year vs. what he is doing this year, and as I mentioned I didn’t start this discussion as a criticism of Mamadi as a player or a person. I agree he has been admirable in stepping into a role that is very new to him, and at times from the outside appears uncomfortable for him. As a coach I can recognize all of that.

If what you said is true about the feedback he got from the NBA scouts then he made the right decision and he is going about it in an admirable way. I also fully trust MD in terms of he appears to be a very mature and thoughtful young man who does not make brash decisions (except maybe the hair).

I’m glad he’s back, but was also curious from a cynical standpoint if NBA scouts would hold this year’s team and performance against him. I do believe that once he hits the combine circuit again in the spring he will be able to show what he can do.

Love the discussion.

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Thats the thing. NBA has really turned into the combine circuit after the season. He will be fine after getting another year at Uva

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Mamadi is a tremendous athlete. I truly believe his biggest hurdle is himself. At times he just isn’t focused. On last year’s team he could could get away with not being as focused as he should. This year with this team we cant afford that. Once and if he masters his mind and emotions I believe Mamadi can do about anything he wants to do .We will become a better team as well


Mamadi was very candid on this if anyone has time to listen. He wants to be the leader of this team