Less than 24 hours since Dusan Mahorcic entered the transfer portal, NC State has found a new piece for its frontcourt. That’s 6’10 big man Mohamed Diarra, who spent 2023 at Missouri after developing into a top JuCo prospect in two seasons at Garden City CC.
Diarra, who has two years of eligibility left, proved very much a work in progress in his first season of major-college basketball. It took him time, but he emerged as a consistent rotation player in February, logging 14+ minutes in nine straight games.
In a best-case scenario for Diarra, he becomes a reliable scorer from behind the arc and in the post, puts on 10-15 more pounds and embraces being a physical presence on the boards this offseason. That would fix many of the lapses we saw from him this season and make him much more reliable on the defensive end.
In my eyes, Diarra can be a major X-factor for a team in 2023-24. With how nimble he is for his size, the Parisian could be a high-energy five-man that can spark a team on both ends of the floor,
In his limited time on the court, he proved an excellent rebounder at both ends of the floor as well as an above-average shot blocker. He’ll need to get better at the free throw line (55.8% in 2023) and he was a bit turnover-prone, but he looks like a good fit for an NC State team that likes to push in transition, and he showed the versatility to guard multiple positions.
Exactly how much he’ll be able to contribute offensively is the big question, but he’s got the skills necessary to be a solid role player. And while he shot just 44.9% on twos overall, that number improved to 51.3% in SEC games. He also attempted almost as many free throws (43) as field goals (46) in league play. That is a significant source of potential value, if he can refine that free throw stroke.