One day after helping Team Africa finish third in the adidas Nations, 2016 power forward Mamadi Diakite committed to Virginia.
Diakite told Jamie Oakes of 247Sports.com, who first reported the news, that there is, “It’s 80 percent chance I enroll in 2015.” Although he sounded less certain about reclassifying when talking to Evan Daniels of Scout.com: “It’s a possibility,” he said. “We don’t know yet.”
The 6-foot-9 forward from the Blue Ridge School (Virginia) is ranked No. 30 in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He is the third four-star commit in Tony Bennett’s 2016 class, joining point guard Ty Jerome and shooting guard Kyle Guy. Three-star power forward Jay Huff rounds out the class. The 2016-17 campaign is the same season Memphis transfer Austin Nichols makes his debut for the Cavaliers. He committed to Virginia on July 26.
Diakite averaged 12.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game in the adidas Nations this past week.
Nichols averaged 13.3 points and 6.1 rebounds per contest last season. His grassroots coach’s connection with the family of John Paul Jones, for whom Virginia named its arena, led to the Cavaliers being seen as the favorite to land Nichols.
He joins a front court that will lose Anthony Gill after the 2015-16 season, with Mike Tobey having one additional season of eligibility remaining. And with the Cavaliers losing a verbal commitment from 2016 power forward Sacha Killeya-Jones, the addition of Nichols is a welcome boost to the program’s interior rotation in 2016-17.
After initially giving sophomore forward Austin Nichols a release with plenty of restrictions, Memphis has backtracked its stance and will give Nichols a full release, according to a release from the school. The 6-foot-10 Nichols was previously restricted from going to a number of schools when he initially looked to transfer last week. Now Nichols can pick wherever he wants for his new spot.
“The University of Memphis has reviewed the appeal submitted by Austin Nichols and has agreed to remove all conditions from his release,” the statement read.
Memphis originally blocked Nichols from going to anyone in the American Athletic Conference, any Memphis non-conference opponent in 2015-16 and Tennessee, Iowa, Providence and Virginia. Iowa, Providence and Virginia all play in a tournament with Memphis in the 2016-17 season.
Once the Nichols family hired high-powered attorney Don Jackson to look into the restrictions, Memphis ultimately cooled its stance. Probably a smart move for both parties to move on from this one and now Nichols can find a new spot to play the last few years of his college career.