Friar Basketball

The Returnees: Alpha Diallo

Diallo Clapping

While it wasn’t much of a surprise to those who follow Providence’s program closely, Alpha Diallo broke out during his second year in black and white.

Diallo, ranked 95th nationally by ESPN coming out of high school, was a critical spring signing in 2016. He played over 20 minutes per game as a freshman, but truly didn’t show his upside until late January with an 18 point, 8 rebound, 4 assist night against St. John’s.

That was the first double digit scoring outing of his freshman year, and he followed it up with double figures against Villanova (18), Butler (15), at St. John’s (17), and Creighton (10 in the Big East Tournament).

In Diallo’s sophomore year he was held to single digits just once in Big East play (including the conference tournament).

He saw his shooting percentage jump from 41% to 47%, and he more than doubled his scoring (5.7 to 13.2) and rebounding (3.2 to 6.6) averages this past season.

Diallo led Providence in both scoring (13.4) and rebounding (7.2) in conference play. His rebounding average was good for sixth in the league, and trailed only true post players like Angel Delgado, Jessie Govan, and Omari Spellman.

Non-Conference Numbers: Diallo was steady throughout most of the non-conference portion of the schedule. His 11 point, five assist, four rebound game against Washington highlighted his versatility, while he shot 7-9 from the field in an easy win over improved Boston College. As PC’s veterans struggled in a road loss to URI, Diallo finished with 17 points and seven assists.

He injured his ankle in an overtime win over Brown, and not coincidentally, PC struggled immediately after. He didn’t play in a road loss to lowly Massachusetts, missed a 62-60 win against Stony Brook, tried to give it a go against Houston, but wasn’t himself (0-2 from the field in 13 minutes), and then sat in a win over Sacred Heart to close non-conference play.

Conference Games: A week off to heal the ankle did wonders for Diallo. In Providence’s Big East opener at St. John’s he finished with 16 points and 12 rebounds — the first of four games in which the 6’7 wing grabbed 10 or more rebounds. Those games included 21 points and 10 boards in a win over Creighton, 25 and 10 at Seton Hall, 11 and 12 at Georgetown, and 22 points and 10 rebounds in the Big East Championship loss to Villanova.

Diallo had seven Big East games in which he had at least eight rebounds.

Postseason Production: Diallo elevated his game in March. Providence needed to win its Big East Tournament opener against Creighton to seal an NCAA Tournament bid, and he scored 19 points and snatched nine boards in an overtime victory. He then had 17-6 in a thrilling semifinal win over Xavier, 22-10 in the Big East title game, and 21-7-4 in PC’s NCAA Tournament loss to Texas A&M.

He took 24 free throws in three Big East Tournament games and averaged 19.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in the tournament.

A Look Ahead: Diallo may have been Providence’s most consistent performer throughout the 2017-18 season. He scored 12 points combined in PC’s first two games (Houston Baptist and Minnesota) and only the Brown injury and illness (0-2, 2 points against DePaul) kept him in single figures the rest of the year.

Diallo’s signing was essential in the spring of 2016. Providence has gotten virtually nothing from its 2015 class, with only backup guard Drew Edward still with the program. Diallo not only provided early production, but gives PC a go-to scorer next season.

Combo guard Maliek White signed in the fall of 2015, then Diallo’s commitment headlined a critical spring in which PC signed Diallo, junior college transfer Emmitt Holt (a starter in his one healthy season at Providence), and center Kalif Young, who started a majority of last season.

With three seniors graduating and questions remaining about Holt’s return to full strength, Diallo will be counted on to provide stability and consistent production as a junior in 2018-19. He is a heady wing who can face up comfortably from 17 feet and does a lot of his damage in the paint.

Beyond the numbers, Diallo brings a toughness and confidence with him every time he steps on the floor.

Diallo can turn into a Big East star by expanding his game beyond the 3-point arc. He made just 15-70 (21%) from deep last season, the only hole in an otherwise complete game. He’s a capable passer (the only Friar to average more than two assists per game other than Kyron Cartwright), rebounds like a player three inches taller, offers defensively versatility, and proved during the postseason that he is at his best when it matters most.

While Ed Cooley will look for jumps in production from the likes of White, Nate Watson, and Makai Ashton-Langford next season, Diallo is a proven commodity and is the type of player who will welcome the opportunity to lead Providence next season.

2017-18 Highlights:


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    June 22, 2018 at 1:01 am

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