Jay Spoonhour wanted to add size to his roster, and after the addition of Sammy Friday to the roster, the Eastern head basketball coach added transfer Madani Diarra to his team.
Diarra is now the tallest player on Eastern’s roster, measuring at 6-feet-10-inches.
The addition of Diarra not only completes Spoonhour’s goal to add size to his roster, but it gives the Panthers another layer to their future depth.
Diarra will likely have to sit out this upcoming season, due to transfer rules, but he has three years of eligibility after playing only his freshman season out at Saint Louis University this past season.
That gives Eastern a big forward to go with the four incoming freshman guards (Jadon Wallace, Isaac Miller, Henry Abraham and Micah Schnyders, who was announced yesterday) for at least three years (in theory).
“Adding him to this class makes us very excited about where we are heading,” Spoonhour said in Diarra’s signing announcement Wednesday.
Diarra himself said one thing that impressed him was how quickly Eastern reached out to him.
“The talks (between Eastern and I) started the day after I entered my name in the transfer portal,” Diarra said.
He comes to Eastern having only appeared in four games for SLU, which is part of the reason he wanted to transfer from SLU.
“I decided to leave SLU because I want to play basketball and I thought about it so I told myself maybe to go somewhere else to play where someone wants to use me on the court and off the court,” he said. “I just trusted my gut and like the location of the school and I can be a lot more useful for the team because of my height and skills I have.”
That of course brings us to his size and abilities in the post.
Diarra said he brings everything to the table: He can rebound, score, pass the ball and set good screens. He also added that he brings a lot of energy and positivity on the floor.
“Everyone who knows Madani says the same thing: No. 1 he is a great person to be around, and No. 2 he works extremely hard and wants to be a player,” Spoonhour said in Eastern’s announcement.
Spoonhour made known that he wanted to add some size (hopefully two forwards) this offseason and has done just that.
Diarra said Spoonhour and his staff told him that they were serious about getting bigs on the team and serious about him, and Diarra said he believes he can be the one for the job.
He also liked that Spoonhour lets his players play free, let them do their own thing and play to their strengths.
Even if Diarra has to sit out this upcoming season, he gives Spoonhour and the Eastern squad a good post presence to pair with the other young, incoming guards for the future.
He also said that if he does have to sit out, he’ll be glad to cheer for his teammates and help everyone to improve on the court.
Dillan Schorfheide can be reached on Twitter at @Dill_DENSports.