Diallo climbs Eastern record list for blocks


JJ Bullock

Aboubacar Diallo blocks a shot during Eastern’s 84-78 loss to Morehead State Feb. 1 in Lantz Arena. The block was Diallo’s 98th career block, which put him in sole possession of third place on Eastern’s career blocks list, just ahead of Muusa Dama who had 97.

Dillan Schorfheide, Assistant Sports Editor

Every Thursday and Saturday night during the men’s basketball team’s season, you may not see Aboubacar Diallo throwing back beers at a raging party.

But, you would see Diallo, or “Bouba,” as everyone refers to him, having his own block party on the basketball court.

Currently, Diallo sits alone in third place for the most career blocks in Eastern’s history with 99, something that came to him as a surprise.

“You know, I’m just happy to be something special, to be on an Eastern career (list),” Diallo said. “That’s a good thing to know for me.”

He added that it feels good to know that he will have left his “legacy” at Eastern once he is gone.

With just one more block in this week’s last two regular season games, or one in an OVC tournament game next week (since Eastern has secured a spot), he will be tied for second all-time with Eric Frankford.

Diallo stepped into third place with his 98th career block in Eastern’s 84-78 loss to Morehead State Feb. 2. He was tied for third at 97 blocks with Muusa Dama, who graduated from Eastern last year.

Typically, basketball players who are considered “shot-blockers” have good patience and time their jumps and swat attempts, and they are good interior defenders.

While Diallo does those things well, he credits his ability to block shots to his background.

Diallo hails from Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Ivory Coast is located on the southern coast of the western half of Africa.

Diallo said that growing up in basketball there, if you are tall, you are expected to be a good defender, rebounder and shot-blocker.

“They don’t want you to score … They don’t want you to do anything on offense,” he said.

During his time at Eastern, Diallo has done exactly what was laid out for him back home.

Diallo only scores 1.4 points per game on average, but he grabs two rebounds per game and averages 1.1 blocks per game, good for sixth in the OVC for blocks per game.

On top of that, Diallo is probably Eastern’s best interior defender, made clear in the Panthers’ bout against Eastern Kentucky Jan. 31.

The Colonels are led by Nick Mayo, who is one of the conference’s most versatile players and second in the conference for scoring per game (23.3 points).

Not only is Mayo tall (6 feet 9 inches), he is also 250 lbs, so he can push people around inside.

But, Diallo led Eastern’s brigade of inside defenders to slow him down and cause Mayo to finish with a poor-shooting night (4-of-19). Mayo also only finished with 15 points.

After the game, Eastern head coach Jay Spoonhour praised all his players who guarded Mayo, but made sure to say how good of a defender Diallo is. Diallo finished that night with three blocks, the third one tying Dama for 97 career blocks.

What is interesting about Diallo is that he does not look to score. If he is open, he will take the shot, of course.

More than likely, every team and coach wants a tall player in the middle who can post up and score efficiently.

Diallo, though, is not thinking to score. He lets his teammates do that.

“I don’t really care about offense,” he said. “I just want to win the game. I know the thing I can do really well to help my team win the game is play defense. I do my best at defense; they do their best on offense. That’s my mentality every time.”

Diallo and Dama made a formidable wall in the middle for Eastern the past couple years, combining for a total 83 blocks last year.

And, while the two were good friends and teammates, Diallo said with a chuckle that he does not think Dama would get upset if he knew Diallo passed him on the blocks list.

“Muusa is a really good, good, good player, he can block shots really, really well, but he plays way better offense than me,” Diallo said. “He’s better than me on offense, I’m better than him on defense, I think he knows that so it doesn’t matter.”

Dillan Schorfheide can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]