Freshman forward Moussa Diabate has been a pivotal piece to Juwan Howard and the Michigan Wolverines so far this season. He came off the bench to begin the year, but started the last two games at North Carolina and home against San Diego State and has provided a spark to a team that has struggled to consistently produce points. He has been among the most electric pieces to this team, but is now set to miss an undisclosed amount of time due to illness.
Diabate left Saturday's game against SDSU with an illness after playing only seven minutes of the game. Speaking to the media Monday morning, Howard stated how the team will miss him moving forward.
“I just pray that he gets healthy,” Howard said. “I’m not concerned about how fast he gets back on the floor to play. I know he’s concerned, because he’s such a fierce competitor. I just want Moussa health-wise — whenever he’s able to return, he returns at 110 percent healthy. There’s no rush to get him back. We truly miss him and obviously we need him.”
With Diabate out for the time being, veteran forward Brandon Johns will likely take back his starting role. He began the season at the team’s starter at the 4 and has provided some decent minutes splitting time with Diabate. He struggled in the starting role, but Howard is confident in the senior’s ability to get back on track.
“Brandon has been special on all levels,” Howard said. “What he’s done has been remarkable in how he’s accepted his role and knowing that we need him and we’re gonna lean on him.”
First and foremost, hopefully Diabate is healthy and recovering quickly from whatever it is he’s dealing with. But hopefully he’s able to come back to the team soon and get back to where he left off. Unless someone steps up immediately, the team is going to need Diabate moving forward.
Will anyone step up offensively to replace the stud freshman? We’ll find out tomorrow, as the Wolverines are back in action tomorrow evening as they take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers to begin Big Ten play.