With today’s signing of top-100 recruit Adrame Diongue, Kyle Smith and his staff have landed another athletic, skilled big-man. This makes it three straight offseasons that Washington State has lured a player of this caliber and archetype to Pullman, as Diongue is the next in the line of Efe Abogidi and Mouhamed Gueye. He brings similar strengths and upside to those players, but has other facets to his game that could potentially give him an even higher ceiling.
Diongue spent his high school days at AZ Compass Prep in Arizona playing alongside top recruits like future Oregon Duck Mookie Cook, future NBA draft pick Tyty Washington, Oregon State’s Glenn Taylor Jr., and many more. Diongue played with the Oakland Soldiers during EYBL play, showing that he has a long history of playing with top tier talent despite his youth. He has played well with and against high-level competition, and he brings the potential to be an immediate impact player with the Cougs.
Breaking Down His Game
Diongue is another high upside defender with offensive skill at the big spot. This is an obvious type for Smith, but there is an argument that Diongue was the best out of all of them in high school. Diongue was certainly the best rebounder of the three, as he attacks the boards harder than most athletic 7-footers and he gets his hands on balls outside of his area. Most young bigs are content to sit and let boards come to them, but Diongue is aggressive, and he uses his physical tools extremely well on the glass. The upside with him as a rebounder would be that he can become a nuclear offensive rebounder at the college level.
The main promise with Diongue, much like Abogidi and Gueye, is on the defensive end. There is a lot to love about what he does on defense. He is super mobile for a true seven-footer, much like Gueye, and his potential to play the 4 and the 5 is a huge sell for his upside. He can slide with wings and guards, and he uses his length incredibly well on the perimeter. His activity is notable as well. His motor revs high and he loves to get into passing lanes and get steals. Few bigs play with the intensity of Diongue on the perimeter.
The rim protection also has some impressive flashes. Diongue is a great athlete with length, which makes for a great base to build off. His timing on blocks stands out, constantly high-pointing the ball and getting to blocks few can access. He does have some work to do on his positioning and with affecting shots he is not blocking, but the baseline skillset is undeniable. The activity he shows on the perimeter extends to when he plays around the rim. The motor is impressive every play and he never stops trying to make plays.
Offensively, Diongue’s fit becomes even more interesting. The obvious strength is the vertical athleticism and length, which he uses to be an elite lob threat and play finisher. He is not quite the quick leaper that Abogidi is, and he is not the versatile, vertical athlete of Gueye, but he is still a well above average vertical athlete with great hands. He finishes almost every lob thrown his way. He also runs the floor incredibly hard and that is always a plus with bigs.
Something Diongue does that both Gueye and Abogidi don’t is pass at a high-level for their position. It is easy to see Diongue operating chin actions at a high-level and being a major boost to WSU’s offense. He is still a bit raw as a passer, but he operates dribble handoffs and makes outlet passes in a way that few his age and at his position do. It would be a major boost to his upside if he could get to the point of being one of the best big passers in the conference. If he truly unlocks the passing upside, there is a lot of comparisons that can be made to Christian Koloko and his development path.
Diongue has some work to do, whether it be putting on strength or getting a more consistent jumper, but either way, Diongue should be an immediate impact guy who could develop into a star on both ends. Diongue is another recruit Smith and staff are bringing in with obvious NBA potential.
Fit With the Roster
Diongue is a seamless fit with this roster no matter how things go the rest of this offseason. WSU has had their greatest success with elite defenders at the 5-spot and Diongue fills that role admirably. He is also a good fit at the 4 next to Dishon Jackson or at the 5 next to Gueye, who could still return to WSU.
His offensive fit will depend on how the roster shakes out around him, but his versatility gives him the opportunity to fit no matter how it goes. If he is playing as the 4 next to Jackson, he could run high-low actions or run chin at a higher level than we saw Gueye do last season and it will be interesting to see what roles they put him in to take advantage of that passing.
As the 5, Diongue will excel as the roll-man. Being a lob threat, setting good screens despite his frame, and potentially even operating out of the short roll as a playmaker. WSU is still searching for potential lead ball-handlers, but Diongue’s fit with Myles Rice is excellent and they could connect for some highlights next season.
Overall, the general boost in athleticism and intensity that Diongue brings is huge. He keeps WSU’s identity alive and brings an extra bit of upside with the passing. The general thesis of this WSU team is to play hard on defense, protect the rim, and play their game on offense. Diongue helps fill all those things and the fit is excellent.
WSU, with Diongue, now has 8 players locked in for next season: Myles Rice, Dylan Darling, TJ Bamba, Andrej Jakimovski, DJ Rodman, Carlos Rosario, Dishon Jackson, and Diongue. Gueye could return and the status of Solomon Ominu is still unknown, but the roster seems to be taking a bit of shape. There is still work to be done this offseason, but it is hard not to love this start for the additions.
Diongue is a huge grab for WSU, and he continues the pattern of Smith and staff grabbing bigs who fit and winning recruiting battles over bigger schools. This could be the start of a great offseason and hopefully the start of a great Coug career. Welcome to Pullman Adrame!