West Hartford — At the intersection of the internet and young foreign basketball players, it’s a fascinating place. Information may be spotty.

Take Badara Diakite.

He is listed 6-8. He is listed 6-9. He is listed at 6-10.

Badala, which one should I write down? It cannot be all three.

“You can write 6-9,” the Northwestern Catholic High sophomore began laughing.

By the time Donovan Clingan graduated from Bristol Central last spring, we knew everything about him, from his Little League friends to his breakfast food.

The 7-footer was a cross-generational state high school player who not only ranked among the top recruits in the nation, but also played at home. There will be no preschool. It has a CIAC state title and a moving tribute to his late mother who also starred in Bristol Central. Choosing to play for UConn ensured that many media outlets would have his focus.

Klingan handled it all. And for those who doubt it, he quickly made an impact on a college team that ranked second in the nation.

Last March, on the Mohegan Sun Floor shortly after Bristol Central beat Northwest Catholics 56-36 to win the provincial title, Northwest coach John Mirabello told Cringan: It meant a lot to Connecticut. “

“It’s a testament to the kids who loved being with their friends in high school and still play basketball,” Mirabello said.

“I’m not surprised that Donovan played so well,” said the 17-year-old Diarkite. “He’s a big influence defensively. Offensively, it’s very difficult to defend him.”

I have a Mali child who is in second grade at the CIAC Catholic School in West Hartford. Not Putnam science. Not St. Thomas More. Not South Kent. CCC team. Klingan was never held in higher esteem than Diakite in a high school class. He’s not built like Klingan. He’s long and lithe and, like his resume, still filling out.

Diakite, who plays for the New Heights (NY) Lightning on the Nike EYBL circuit, is ranked 26th in the world.th Nationwide in the class of 2025 by 247 Sports.he is ranked 19thth By ESPN.he ranks 10thth by Rivals.

Mirabello is widely regarded as one of the best high school coaches in New England. He is also a nurturer. At this point, he doesn’t want to exaggerate these numbers.

“They put so much out on these kids at such a young age,” Mirabello said.

Diakite arrived in the United States from Mali at the age of 14. In August 2019, he became one of ten boys from various countries to represent Africa at his 2019 Jr. NBA Global Championship in Orlando.

he spoke french English was a foreign language for him. Although this is his first time doing media interviews, his English has improved tremendously in his three years. His guardian family lives in Bloomfield.

“I’m glad I got the chance to come here, play basketball, get an education and improve my game,” he said. “We’ve seen programs here at Northwest Catholic. The way they were playing.

“Coaches teach us great basketball. Sometimes he yells, but he teaches us to be great.”

Diarkite knows another UConn center named Adama Sanogo, a fellow Malian.

“I didn’t see him when I got home,” he said. “He was here before me. We’ll talk when I get here.

Diakite participated in the recent UConn-Villanova match. This led to Mirabello joking that he was going to feed Badara the same diet as muscular Sanogo.

As a freshman, Daikite didn’t get a lead role. Matt Curtis, who had played a prep year at Avon Old Farms before heading to Fairfield, was probably the state’s best CIAC player behind Klingan. The team, which lost only twice to Wilbur Cross and to Bristol Central, also had seniors Hayden Abdullah and Jehibik Spencer.

We can’t afford to lose to Wilbur Cross in 6th place this December. Diakite scored 24 points and he had 10 rebounds in his 94-56 win at the GHPA High School Basketball Classic. He recently recorded 21, 12 and 4 blocks in the Jordan Holiday Classic in New York against Albany Academy. The Diakites are averaging 20 points, 12 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 assists this season. He fills the stat sheets for undefeated teams.

“Badala is very skilled for his size,” said Mirabello. “He’s learning to use those skills at the right time. Shot selection, all that stuff. With his height, there are due expectations. He’s not a short kid. We We talk about it all the time.Be a basketball player.There’s no reason why you can’t use these skills.There’s no reason you can’t dribble, pass, shoot.

“His shots are a lot more consistent than they were last year. You can get a glimpse of that and when he missed, he got a little annoyed. In a year of maturity he moved on to the next shot.” and don’t worry about it.

He has worked hard to get stronger with conditioning and weight training. He made contact and finished the play that he couldn’t finish last year.

“That’s part of what we want out of him improving,” Mirabello said. “Be stronger. Improve his shot. He’s kind of a third-level kid. I don’t want to take that away from him.It’s good for him and his future.The game has changed.”

When asked which player he would like to imitate, Diakite, who often watches basketball on television, said he had to be himself. Then he says Jason Tatum, Kevin Durant, Zach LaVine, Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“Look at them, where do they score?” Mirabello asked.

“Everywhere.” Daikite replied.

“They are basketball players,” said Mirabello. “There’s no rule against scoring on the inside. He’s got a great low post game. He can get in the lane for midrange pull-ups. Neither final nor finished.” No, but it’s a lot better.”

“My game has definitely improved in terms of shooting, passing, rebounding, and getting the ball to the point guard with haste,” Diarkite said.

And is there anything you definitely need to work on?

“Get out of the dribble, shoot and play,” he said.

Growth is constant. Evolution continues. This includes an expanded role on a team that started the season ranked third in the state.

“Matt Curtis has been a great player for us,” said Diarkayt. “There’s a lot of talent this year. With me and London (Jemison, 6-7 Jr. in charge of the D-1 offer) in there, we can make a big impact at our length. Gianni (Mirabello) is a great point guard and we can all be leaders in our game.”

“I don’t think it was a conscious thing,” Mirabello said of filling in Curtis’s void. People have played all season, they have a lot of experience and London has blossomed.”

State championship?

“We definitely have an opportunity this year,” Dirkite said.

Play for a major university? NBA someday? those are the goals.

Penn State has reportedly already sent out early offers, and a number of top schools, including UConn, have Dire Kite on their radar.

“Last year Badala was very quiet, but as the season progressed it opened up,” said Mirabello. “He’s funny. He’s a joke. He’s raised his voice. Everyone loves him.”


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