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Breakdown: Top-30 Moustapha Diagne commits to Syracuse

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

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July is never an easy month for recruiting, as schools will bounce from city to city looking to land their next crop of studs. Several schools will have plenty of work to do during the month, but Syracuse is not one of them.

The Orange already had three commitments lined up heading into June, but they weren't done yet.

As one of the best big men in the class of 2015, Moustapha Diagne was being pursued by many of the best schools in the country. Connecticut, Cincinnati, Villanova, Ohio State and others had all made moves for Diagne, but he announced recently he was down to Syracuse and Memphis – and ready to end his recruitment.

Syracuse had been heavily involved with Diagne for months, and solidified itself as the heavy favorite once the junior set a date. Diagne had visited Syracuse multiple times, and reportedly never took a trip to Memphis. He confirmed the rumors on Saturday evening, committing to Syracuse at the Mary Kline Classic.

“It's a good school, they have a good basketball program,” Diagne said, according to SNY.tv. “And Coach [Adrian] Autry, we built a good relationship and I feel comfortable with Syracuse.”

Diagne is the sixth-highest ranked player from the class of 2015 to make a commitment. He is also the second top-30 player to pledge to Syracuse, joining Malachi Richardson.

The file on … Moustapha Diagne

  • Height: 6-foot-9
  • Weight: 240 pounds
  • Position: Power forward
  • Ranking: No. 27 in 247Sports Composite for class of 2015, No. 7 power forward
  • High School: Pope John XXIII (N.J.)
  • AAU: Playaz Basketball Club (N.J.)
  • Stats: 9.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.7 blocks on 2014 EYBL circuit

How he fits at Syracuse: The first thing that stands out about Diagne is his build and strength. His upper body enables him to play effectively around the rim, whether it's finishing in the paint or grabbing rebounds – especially on the offensive end. Diagne has good athleticism, and doesn't shy away from contact when going up. He has a good motor and has a developing back-to-the-basket game. He should be able to help at Syracuse immediately due to his physical tools and ability to rebound at both ends. The Orange haven't relied on their big men to be go-to offensive weapons the past few years, but Diagne can finish on dump-offs and on offensive rebounds. Rakeem Christmas will be leaving after next season, leaving inconsistent and oft-injured DaJuan Coleman to lead the way up front, along with Tyler Roberson and Chinoso Obokoh – two rising sophomores who haven't proven much thus far. The wild card is incoming freshman Chris McCullough, who has the ceiling to be a one-and-done – if he lives up to his potential.

What it means for Syracuse's class: Syracuse has the top class for 2015 right now, already landing four players ranked in the top 75, including five-star wing Malachi Richardson and four-star prospects Diagne, Tyler Lydon and Franklin Howard. The Orange continue to be one of the strongest forces in recruiting the East coast and Northeast area, and have essentially done all their work for 2015. Diagne is a physical force in the post; Lydon is another versatile forward who can stretch a defense with his ability to step out and make shots; Howard is a good athlete who can score, but has been recovering from a knee injury; and Richardson is one of the better scorers in the rising senior class. Jim Boeheim has done a tremendous job with this class so far, and there aren't many holes remaining to fill. Based on my count, they have no scholarships remaining – but they still have some targets, namely Derrick Jones and Thomas Bryant.

Which school loses the most: Memphis. It's hard to say any school loses the most in this recruitment, as Syracuse was the heavy favorite and clubhouse leader for most of the past few months. However, since Memphis was reportedly the other school among his finalists, let's look at the Tigers for a second. They already have a commitment from K.J. Lawson, and are in deep with top-10 prospect Skal Labissiere. They have targeted Labissiere more than Diagne, and he's been their primary focus among frontcourt players. Josh Pastner has also been looking at Elijah Thomas, another five-star big man. Memphis does need to solidify its roster with the 2015 class, but the loss of Diagne doesn't hurt them too much. He was Syracuse's to lose.

 
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