BAL

Diarra makes strong case to be Sahara Conference’s most impactful player

Aliou Diarra

Temps de lecture : 2 mn 🕗

His coolness near the is out of this world, and stats testify how great Aliou Diarra has been in 2023 Sahara Conference season.

On Saturday, March 18, Diarra inspired his Stade Malien to a shocking 84-64 win over Rwanda Energy Group (REG) to improve to 2-2.

The 21-year-old center had a 9-for-12 shooting to finish with 20 points and 16 rebounds against a team that hadn't tasted defeat before.

It was Diarra's fourth double-doubles in four games.

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Except for Monastir forward Ibrahima Thomas, who recorded two double-doubles in three games, no other player in the current season comes close to Diarra's numbers on both ends of the floor.

As of Sunday, March 19, Diarra had the two highest efficiency ratings (38 and 35) in Sahara Conference. ABC's Abdoulaye Harouna recorded the third highest efficiency rating (29) during a 90-74 win over US Monastir.

Diarra, who models his after champion Anthony Davies, has been terrorizing opponents throughout the season.

Four games into the Conference, Diarra averages 17 points, 14.8 rebounds, 2.5 blocks, and 27.9 minutes per game.

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Assertive and disciplined in the paint, Diarra continues to make a strong case to be the 2023 Sahara Conference's most impactful player.

“I just want to try to be the best player I can be. I am just enjoying the opportunity of playing at high the level comes,” Diarra said in an exclusive chat with the bal.nba.com.

“Basketball is my life. In my mind I wish to have a chance to play in the NBA one day,” he noted.

Diarra has been fundamental for Stade Malien since the qualifying round for the 2023 BAL season.

“I just try to help my team win as many games as possible,” he observed.

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At 6'9 and 192 pounds, Diarra may need to hit the gym to put muscles on, but his footwork and ferocity to attack the rim have become a nightmare to opponents.

“Before every game I get my mind ready. And I try to show my mental strength on the court,” he said through an interpreter.

As a team, Diarra said: “We play with our hearts. This team started to build its identity when we played the qualifiers in Niger and . Togetherness has been our strongest strength.”

“It's all about preparation,” he said when asked about his cool-headed attitude during the game.

“I look up to Anthony Davies. I spend hours trying some of his moves in practice and try to apply them during game time. I always have defender double-teaming me, but I can read their moves. Watching NBA games helps me to become a better player.”

Stade Malien guard Kelvin Amayo is excited about Diarra and teammates' display in the BAL. “The world has got to see who these young [Stade Malien players] really are. And I am happy to be a part of this.”

“We can do some big things.”

Stade Malien will close their Sahara Conference on Tuesday, March 21 when they face Abidjan Basket Club.

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