Photo Credit: Liam Sment
Virginia Tech has made some big splashes on the transfer market before, but they made arguably their biggest men's basketball one today as Kansas State grad transfer Cartier Diarra committed to Virginia Tech.
Cartier Diarra just posted this on Instagram, Every Man a Hokie. pic.twitter.com/eq0XatkIsV— Mason Voth (@TheRealMasonV) March 31, 2020
Diarra averaged 13.3 points, 4.2 assists, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.8 steals in 31.3 minutes per game this past season while shooting 41.2% from the field including 30.5% from three and 66.4% from the free-throw line. Diarra spent two years with current Virginia Tech assistant Chester Frazier who was an assistant at Kansas State previously.
Stadium's Jeff Goodman ranks Diarra as the third best available grad transfer in the country.
Landing Diarra comes after a busy couple weeks during which Virginia Tech has added a commitment from three-star PF David N'Guessan, but also seen Landers Nolley and Isaiah Wilkins enter the transfer portal, creating the room for Diarra and N'Guessan.
Diarra brings a lot to the table as an athletic combo guard who has proven to be productive on both ends of the floor. He has also shown the ability to be a quality on-ball player which could be valuable and give Tech more lineup options.
Turnovers and three-point shooting have been a couple of weaker areas for him, but having a guy like Wabissa Bede to run the show and a wealth of quality shooters and scorers around him to take the load off should help both those areas. Additionally, Diarra showed greater efficiency earlier in his career shooting 40.5% from three as a freshman when Kansas State had quality veterans like Barry Brown, Dean Wade, and Xavier Sneed to share the load.
Diarra also brings a wealth of quality experience not only in a high-major conference playing in the Big 12 but also having reached the Elite Eight as a freshman in the region that saw UVA lose to UMBC in the first round and Loyola-Chicago advance to the Final Four. For a young team looking to take steps forward, having another veteran who's been there like Diarra to go with Wabissa Bede and P.J. Horne definitely helps.
Cartier Diarra is keeping his options though as he told Stadium's Jeff Goodman that he still plans to enter the 2020 NBA Draft, but leave the option to return to CBB and play for Virginia Tech open.
Kansas St grad transfer Cartier Diarra (13.3 ppg, 6.4 reg), who committed to Virginia Tech, told me he will declare for the NBA Draft, see what info he gets and then decide whether to return to college.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanHoops) April 1, 2020
This may concern some fans, but it's very likely that Diarra does not leave for the NBA and does play inside Cassell Coliseum next season. Overall, it's a smart move for Diarra to not only get some experience with what some parts of the process look like, but also get feedback from NBA scouts on areas of his game that need the most improvement before starting his professional career.