Moustapha Diagne was suppose to be an important piece for the Syracuse interior this upcoming season.
However, back in the August the highly-touted forward decided to enroll at Northwest Florida State College, the reigning JuCo national champion. At the moment, Diagne is still in his native Senegal, awaiting a student visa so he can attend college classes, according to a report from Donna Ditota of the Post-Standard on Wednesday evening.
To re-enter the United States on a student visa, Diagne must visit the U.S. Embassy in his home nation and present, among other documents, an I-20 form signed by himself and an official from the American college that has accepted him. Generally, it takes 20 to 30 days to schedule an appointment with an embassy official.
Applicants can request expedited processing, but DeMeo said Northwest Florida State preferred to allow the process to proceed at a normal pace to ensure all of Diagne’s paperwork was complete. Northwest Florida State supplied Diagne with an I-20 confirming his acceptance as a student.
Diagne was rated as the No. 77 overall recruit in the Class of 2015 by Rivals, part of a four-person recruiting class for Jim Boeheim along with Tyler Lydon, Franklin Howard and Malachi Richardson.
The loss of Diagne leaves Syracuse with a frontline of Lydon, Tyler Roberson, Chinoso Obokoh and DaJuan Coleman, who hasn’t played since Jan. 2014.
Without Diagne, the Orange also enter the season with only nine available scholarship players. Providence transfer Paschal Chukwu is the 10th scholarship player, but can’t play during the 2015-16 season due to NCAA transfer rules.
One of Syracuse’s most important recruits in the Class of 2015 reportedly will not be joining the program this season, leaving the Orange one option short in the post.
According to the Syracuse Post-Standard, forward/center Moustapha Diagne will not enroll at Syracuse this season and will instead attend junior college. The school confirmed the news via press release shortly thereafter. For a team that has to account for the loss of both Chris McCullough (who missed most of the season with a torn ACL) and one of the nation’s most productive big men in Rakeem Christmas, this is a tough personnel hit to take at this point in the offseason.
The loss of Diagne means that even more will be asked of players such as junior Tyler Roberson and freshman Tyler Lydon in 2015-16. Also available are juniors Chinoso Obokoh and DaJuan Coleman, with the former playing sparingly last season and the latter dealing with injuries throughout his college career.
Syracuse added 7-foot-2 center Paschal Chukwu to the program earlier this summer, but the Providence transfer won’t be eligible to compete per NCAA transfer rules.
Syracuse landed a quartet of four-star recruits for its Class of 2015. Even after Friday afternoon’s events, it looks like the Orange will get all four on campus this fall.
On Friday, the NCAA announced penalties for rule violations committed by the Syracuse football and basketball teams. The sanctions included 108 vacated wins, a nine-game suspension for Jim Boeheim a five-year probation and the most impactful punishment: a loss of 12 scholarships over a four year span.
Donna Ditota and Mike Waters, Syracuse beat writers for the Post-Standard, tracked down the four Syracuse signees and all reaffirmed their commitments.
Malachi Richardson, No. 31 in Rivals150: “Nothing has changed,” Richardson’s mother, Jacqui said via text. “Malachi is still committed to Syracuse.”
Tyler Lydon, No. 66 in Rivals150: “In our opinion,” Lydon’s parents said, “we don’t think he’s going to leave. He’s never expressed anything even remotely to us that he would think about it.”
Moustapha Diange, No. 69 in Rivals150: “This doesn’t affect anything,” Diange’s Pope John XXII (New Jersey) coach, Jason Hasson said via text.
Franklin Howard, No. 82 in Rivals150: “Oh yes, for sure,” said Gloria Howard, Frank’s mom, told Syracuse.com. “We’re definitely still there. No changes.”
At the moment, Syracuse is set to have 13 scholarship players for next season with another commit, Matthew Moyer, committed to play for the Orange in 2016. He also pledged his loyalty to the program.
Raphielle Johnson broke down what the scholarship restrictions mean for Syracuse’s future here.
Syracuse’s season will end on Saturday afternoon at N.C. State. The Orange announced a self-imposed postseason ban back in February.
Entering the weekend with three verbal commitments in the 2015 class, Syracuse has been one of the most productive programs in the country when it comes to putting together their next recruiting haul. Saturday evening the crop put together by Jim Boeheim and his staff grew even larger, as four-star power forward Moustapha Diagne announced his decision to commit to the ACC school at the Mary Kline Classic in West Orange, N.J.
As a junior at Pope John XXIII High School in Sparta, N.J., Diagne posted averages of 17.1 points and 9.2 rebounds per game on a team that finished the season with a 20-8 record. Diagne narrowed his choices to Syracuse and Memphis, but most of the chatter leading up to the announcement was that he would be picking the Orange.
With Diagne on board Syracuse has a four-member 2015 recruiting class, with guards Franklin Howard and Malachi Richardson and forward Tyler Lydon having already made their pledges to the program. Following the 2014-15 season the Orange will lose rising senior Rakeem Christmas, with players such as Dajuan Coleman and the recently qualified Chris McCullough having eligibility remaining.
Video credit: Steve Wilder