The Michigan Wolverines added to their massive haul in the 2021 basketball recruiting class on Monday with the surprise commitment of five-star big man Moussa Diabate, which was their second pledge of an elite prospect in as many weeks. If there were any doubts as to whether Juwan Howard would continue to have the ear of elite prospects, those have been pretty emphatically shot down recently.
We knew that Michigan was searching for a big man to fill out the last (current) remaining spot in the 2021 class, but much of the conversation had centered around five-stars Efton Reid and Charles Bediako. Diabate was certainly in the mix, but someone we had not heard a ton about, apparently by design. Still, even the most plugged-in recruiting writers will tell you that they had no idea this was coming.
Diabate, who currently attends IMG Academy, is the No. 20 overall player in the 2021 class and the No. 6 power forward in the cycle. While not listed as a center, at 6-foot-10, 215 pounds with room to grow, one would imagine he could certainly get some looks there.
Diabate has a burgeoning skill-set and is very much still coming into his own. The combination of length (he has a 7-foot-1 wingspan), size and athleticism make him one of the most exciting young projects in basketball right now. When you watch him on the floor, he moves like three-man while being able to take on the duties of a five. His ability to protect the rim and be a presence as a rebounder are skills that immediately stick out and make him an immediate contributor the second he arrives on campus. Defensively, he has shown the ability to take care of business in the paint while also being able to switch to the perimeter in a situation where it arises.
The offense is a work in progress right now, as is generally the case with young post players. He wins with explosion as opposed to power at this stage of the game. The good news is that his perimeter game is starting to come along at a fairly decent clip. It also appears that he is starting to improve as a ballhandler and distributor, which fits in extremely well with what Howard and his staff have added in the class.
Diabate is going to play a big role early in his time at Michigan simply due to his skills as a rebounder and on the defensive end of the floor. He has shown an ability to play the four and that makes him an intriguing complement to Hunter Dickson at the five and Caleb Houstan presumably at the three. Though in any lineup combination, Diabate and Houstan could easily side down to the five and the four, respectively. It just creates more versatility for a roster that already appears as if it will have plenty of options.
This is another exciting grab for Howard and the Wolverines, assuming he signs. Diabate is not the highest-ranked player in the class for Michigan, but you get the sense he might have the highest ceiling of any of the players that have been brought in so far. There might not be a better fit for a big man looking to develop his skill-set than under Howard at Michigan, so there is plenty of reason to be fired up for what his commitment means.
Diabate joins a class that includes the aforementioned Houstan, four-star guard Frankie Collins, Kobe Bufkin and Isaiah Barnes and three-star power forward Will Tschetter. As of this posting, Michigan has the No. 1 recruiting class in the country.