With five scholarship players entering their final year of college eligibility in 2015-16, the 2016 recruiting class is an important one for UConn. Friday morning head coach Kevin Ollie received his first verbal commitment in the class, as 6-foot-8 power forward Mamadou Diarra made his pledge in a ceremony at Woodstock Academy.
Diarra, who attended Putnam Sciences Academy for the last two years and will attend Woodstock as a postgraduate student this upcoming school year, picked UConn over VCU. Diarra cited his relationship with head coach Kevin Ollie as one of the reasons for his decision to remain in the northeast for his college career.
While UConn does have five scholarship players who will be in their final season of eligibility in 2015-16, two (graduate student Shonn Miller and senior Phillip Nolan) are interior options. Amida Brimah and Kentan Facey will both be juniors this coming season, and UConn adds freshman Steven Enoch to the program. Diarra gives UConn a player who finishes well around the basket, and he’s also been praised for his abilities as a rebounder and defender.
Diarra is a teammate of another UConn recruiting target in 2017 guard Hamidou Diallo, who like Diarra will attend Woodstock Academy next year.
In regards to their 2016 recruiting class, UConn is also in the mix for former VCU wing Terry Larrier. The 6-foot-7 Larrier, who considered UConn before committing to VCU in high school, recently visited the Storrs campus and would have three years of eligibility after sitting out the 2015-16 campaign at whichever school he chooses to transfer to.
If UConn were to receive a commitment from Larrier, that would give the Huskies another option on the wing as they have multiple upperclassmen at the shooting guard and small forward positions.