Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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Bill Self Says Cheick Diallo’s Camp Will Do ‘Whatever it Takes’ to Get Him Eligible
Kansas coach Bill Self sounds like he’s ready to sit back and watch Cheick Diallo’s attorney and the NCAA slug it out over the freshman big man’s eligibility.
One day after Diallo’s camp hired Alabama-based attorney Donald Jackson to handle the case, Self said he expects Diallo’s attorney to do “whatever it takes” to get the former Our Savior New American star eligible to play.
“We’re frustrated,” Self said, according to the KC Star. “We fought our butts off. So I’m frustrated. But the whole thing is, the NCAA knew that this was going to happen.
“… They’re going to fight for the kid. It comes to no surprise to me. We were all hopeful that it wouldn’t come to this. But I wouldn’t blame [them]; if I was a parent, I’d do the same thing.”
Yahoo Sports and the KC Star reported Tuesday that the NCAA was looking into Diallo’s relationship with Tidiane Drame, a native of Mali who helped bring Diallo and other African players to the U.S.
“That has been an element,” Jackson told the Star. “They have looked into that. Everything that he’s done has purely been of an acceptable nature. Not only that, he obviously is Malian and he has a longstanding relationship with this young man’s family and quite a number of young people from that country.
“There’s nothing irregular about it.”
Yahoo also reported that Kansas provided the NCAA more than 2,000 pages of Diallo’s homework from Our Savior and his academic records dating back to his time in Mali. St. John’s freshman Kassoum Yakwe, who also has a relationship with Drame, also attended Our Savior and has yet to be cleared.
“A lot of things are just now being addressed,” Self said Tuesday of Diallo. “We’re Nov. 10, and there are some things that, obviously, under most normal circumstances, this is handled Sept. 10 at the latest.
“We just got to go by what they tell us, and fight for him. We have representation that is fighting for him hard. Now he’ll have double representation. So it could get pretty interesting.”
The 6-foot-9 Diallo was the MVP of the McDonald’s All-American Game and the co-MVP of the Jordan Brand Classic.
Kansas plays its first game Friday against Northern Colorado.
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.