Friar Basketball

Diving Deep on Alpha Diallo

Alpha Diallo Pointing

Regular Season Statistics (per game): 13.2 points, 6.6 rebounds. 2.3 assists, 1.0 steals, .466 from the field, .733 from the free throw line, .214 from 3.

Conference Statistics: 13.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, .433 from the field, .720 from the free throw line, .239 from 3.

Advanced Statistics of Note: 1.088 points per possession (ppp) on post up situations (92nd percentile nationally), 1.229 ppp on offensive rebounds (71st percentile nationally), 0.8 ppp in spot up situations (31st percentile nationally)

2017-18 Overview: On a team starting three seniors a season ago, Providence’s most consistent performer may have been sophomore Alpha Diallo. The Harlem, NY native saw his production increase when the stakes were the highest. His numbers jumped in conference play, and he was outstanding in PC’s run to the Big East Tournament championship game in March.

His 13.4 points per game in Big East contests were a Providence team high, while he ranked sixth in the Big East in rebounding in conference games. His 2.4 offensive rebounds per game in conference were the third best average in the league, trailing only Angel Delgado of Seton Hall and Georgetown’s Jessie Govan. Not bad for a 6’7 wing.

While Kyron Cartwright went off in the Big East Tournament, Diallo wasn’t far behind. His four postseason games were all outstanding:

  • 19 points, 9 rebounds, and a game tying put-back late in regulation against Creighton to keep the NCAA tournament hope alive.
  • 17 points, six rebounds, and a pair of clutch free throws in the final seconds of an overtime win against top seed Xavier in the BET semis.
  • 22 points and 10 rebounds in the Big East championship versus Villanova. With PC trailing 11-2 early, Diallo scored three baskets in a two minute span to tie the game, and he later scored a go-ahead hoop with 45 seconds left in regulation in the eventual overtime loss.
  • 21 points, seven rebounds, four assists in an NCAA tournament loss to Texas A&M.

With the graduations of Cartwright, Rodney Bullock and Jalen Lindsey, Providence loses three of its top four scorers from a season ago. A lot is expected of Diallo in his upcoming junior year.

Much of the offseason talk surrounding Diallo has been on the need to improve his 3-point accuracy, but Diallo plays for a coach who likes to say he focuses on what a player is, not what he isn’t. And Diallo can score in a lot of ways from inside the arc.

Let’s take a look at what makes him such a weapon.

Hands:

Perhaps one of the more under-appreciated elements of the game, Diallo has terrific hands. He catches the ball well in traffic and on the run. In the highlights below we’ll see him catch passes that are well behind or in front of him, gather instantly (sometimes with one hand) and score in a fluid motion.

On the final play of the clip, he’s stripped in traffic, but gathers to finish among the big men.

 

Posting up:

As noted above, Diallo was among the most efficient post up scorers in the country last season, ranking in the 92nd percentile of all D1 players.

The clips below are from the past two seasons. Notice the score and time: the first possession of overtime in the BET tourney against Creighton, with the Friars trailing by a point at the 2:25 mark of overtime against Xavier in the semis, in late game situations on the road at URI and Georgetown, and even as a freshman with PC up a point with two minutes left against Butler.

The coaching staff has gone to him repeatedly in the post in critical moments. Smaller guards like Tyler Lewis and Jeff Dowtin had no chance, and he’s done work against bigger bodied NBA-types like Josh Hart and Trevon Blueitt.

 

Offensive glass:

Diallo is also effective scoring off of put-backs (better than nearly 3/4 of the players in the nation).

Most memorable was his offensive rebound and score to tie last season’s Big East quarterfinals keeping PC’s NCAA tournament dreams alive.

 

Finishing with strength:

He is comfortable playing in the paint and welcomes contact. Diallo finishes through fouls, and at times bullies smaller defenders by dropping a shoulder into them and dismissing them near the hoop.

 

Pump fakes:

No one was guilty of falling for Diallo’s pump fakes more than Boston College last season. He feasted against the Eagles by faking and driving repeatedly. Not sure what the scouting report was, but it’s glaring upon a second viewing just how poor BC was in staying down against Diallo.

While not a great spot-up shooter, Diallo still drew defenders with shot fakes pretty consistently.

 

Mid-range game:

Diallo struggled in the catch and shoot game last year. He ranked very low in 3-point shooting efficiency, but the jump shot numbers start to spike the closer he gets to the basket. Diallo ranked in the 38th percentile in “medium” range jumpers (17 feet to the 3-point line) and a very good 78th percentile on jump shots from 17 feet and in.

He shot the ball well from just outside of the circle.

 

Straight line drives:

While the numbers indicated that Diallo wasn’t an efficient isolation scorer last season, his statistics on drives to the basket out of spot up situations are very good. This ties back to his ability to draw defenders with up-fakes and make his way to the rim.

Diallo hasn’t flashed an explosive first step, but he is a good straight line driver who uses his strength to outmaneuver defenders after one or two bounces.

Here we see him blow past Big East Defensive Player of the Year Khyri Thomas for a dunk and finish on a pretty left handed scoop.

 

Big game player:

As mentioned above, Diallo has played some of his best games on the biggest stages. We saw it last year when URI was running away from the Friars and he led them back, and throughout Big East play. He was obviously huge in the Big East Tournament.

We even saw glimpses of his clutch ability when he played terrifically against Villanova as a freshman with 18 points. In the clip below he buried a big 3 in the upset bid against Nova that fell short that year (he did miss a critical free throw that displeased Cooley in the final two minutes).

He put away both Creighton and Georgetown last year, and with a potential Big East title in the balance, Cooley drew up a play for him against Villanova with 45 seconds left in overtime of the championship game.

 

What’s next:

Expect talk of his outside shooting to carry much of the Diallo conversation in October. While an improved 3-point game would make him an even more well-rounded offensive player, the thought here is that he can help the Friars by being more of a play-maker.

He’s shown flashes of being a good passer out of double teams.

 

Cartwright dominated the ball the past two seasons, but perhaps those flashes of playmaking ability become more consistent in year three for Diallo.

PC has a pair of top 50 prospects at point guard in sophomore Makai Ashton-Langford and freshman David Duke on the roster, but Diallo could lighten the burden some by becoming a more consistent playmaker.

Expect Diallo to be named 1st or 2nd Team All Big East in the preseason, with the likes of Shamorie Ponds (St. John’s), Markus Howard (Marquette), and Jessie Govan (Georgetown) a notch ahead of him in the preseason player of the year race.

Twitter: @Kevin_Farrahar

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