ESPN 100 swingman Alpha Diallo committed to Providence on Tuesday, giving the Friars one of the few remaining prospects left in the country capable of making an immediate impact at the high-major level.
Why he committed: Diallo was widely recruited,landing offers from the likes of Indiana, Florida, Oklahoma State, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech and numerous others over the course of the last seven months. Providence’s aggressive pursuit was the difference. Friars’ head coach Ed Cooley has a way of locking in on a recruit once he prioritizes him and that, in addition to the fact that there is a clear opportunity to play immediate minutes and then develop into a big part of the program’s future, resonated with Diallo.
What he brings: Diallo, No. 95 in the ESPN 100, is a multi-positional player with good size on the perimeter and a good understanding of how to play. While he made a name for himself last summer at Adidas Nations, he’s actually not quite as explosive in a half-court game but has a good acumen for the game and a continuously developing skill set. He’s a good pull-up shooter, an opportunistic slasher and improving 3-point shooter who can also provide a quality passer and versatile defender on the wing.
How he fits: Providence is a team that will have a much different style next year following the graduation of Kris Dunn. The big question for the Friars is whether or not Ben Bentil follows Dunn into the draft or whether the big man returns for his junior year. If he’s back, look for Providence to play an inside-out style to highlight their big man at every opportunity and continue to mix up their defensive coverages, including plenty of zone. The Friars have also been known to incorporate some flex offense into their system, typically late in the season, and that’s an offense in which Diallo should thrive given his versatility and ability to thrive at the elbow areas.
How the class is shaping up: Diallo joins Maliek White as the second player to commit to Providence in the 2016 class. While White fell outside of the final ESPN 100, he’s coming off a big senior season and will also be relied on to play immediate minutes to help fill the void left by Dunn’s departure at the point. Beyond the high school ranks, the Friars recently got a commitment from one-time Indiana forward Emmitt Holt, who will have two years of eligibility remaining out of Indian Hills Community College and will be capable of seeing time at the four and the five. Isaiah Jackson will also join the lineup next year after sitting out this season following his transfer from George Mason and is expected to play significant minutes right away. Despite those four new additions, Cooley still has available scholarships to use in the Class of 2016 and would like to find one more piece to add to the frontline to solidify his depth should Bentil not return.
Who he reminds us of: There are actually some similarities to Washington Wizards forward Jared Dudley, a player that found stardom at Boston College from 2003-2007 when Cooley was an assistant coach under Al Skinner. Like Diallo, Dudley was neither an elite athlete or a knockdown 3-point shooter when he arrived at BC but he had good positional size, the I.Q. and versatility to thrive in a flex offense that had far fewer wrinkles than Cooley’s current system and the work-ethic to play bigger than his size on the glass. Dudley also improved his 3-point shooting, which is now his biggest asset in the NBA. That’s not to say Diallo will have the same level of success, but it’s certainly a path worth emulating.