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Mamadi signs multi-year deal with Bucks: ‘This is just the beginning’

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Mamadi Diakite

Mamadi Diakite

Only four months after being undrafted and accepting a two-way offer from the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks, former Virginia star Mamadi Diakite has signed a multi-year contract with the club.

Virginia fans are not surprised that Diakite has rose through the ranks so quickly. He was perhaps the most athletic Cavalier during the Tony Bennett era. Mike Curtis, UVA’s director of strength and conditioning, and who held a similar role in the NBA prior to returning to his alma mater, said three years ago that Diakite had more athletic ability than many players he ahd worked with in the NBA.

“I have more to prove, I have more to give to the team and I have more to show to the fans,” Diakite told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “Them doing this shows me that they trust me in many ways, but I still have work to do. I’m someone who always got it out of the mud and I’ll keep fighting my way through that.”

While Diakite was always a popular player on Virginia’s roster after arriving in Charlottesville from nearby Blue Ridge School, he grabbed national acclaim in 2019 when he took a halfcourt pass from Kihei Clark and scored a buzzer-beating basket against Purdue, sending the Elite Eight game into overtime. UVA won that game and marched to the national championship.

While he agreed to a two-way offer with the Bucks, he spent most of his time with the Lakeland Magic in the G-League and became a star on that level. Since being called up to the Bucks at the all-star break, he has played in 11 games and has averaged 2.5 points and 2.3 rebounds.

The G-League experience was good for Diakite’s development. He made that league’s all-star team and was watched closely by the Bucks even though he was playing for Orlando’s G-League team (the Bucks didn’t have a team in that league).

“I was able to show a lot of my abilities that I wasn’t able to show early in my career, but also knowing what’s my place on the team … what can i do in order to help the team go forward when I come back?” Diakie told the Journal Seninel. “So those little areas that I need to improve, I thankfully improved those.”

Diakite’s agent, Gary Durrant said that they were thankful to the Bucks organization for the opportunity.

“To sign this conversion with Milwaukee was a no-brainer for us,” Durrant said. “They gave Mamadi an opportunity, and so, we just thank them for believing in Mamadi. They have an ability to identify character kids that are talented and really bring them in as family, make them trust them and just turn them into something special.”

Diakite, 24, said he learned about accepting roles at Virginia, which has helped him at the next level.

“Don’t be surprised when your name is called to play. That’s the first thing,” the former Wahoo said. “The second thing is obviously being a high-energy guy, a beast on the boards, a primary defender and able to open the floor offensively for the guys by setting screens, catching lobs or sometimes shooting.”

For those familiar with the always positive-thinking Diakite, his closing statement will come as no surprise.

“This is just the beginning, you know?” Diakite said. “There’s more to come.”

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