On Wednesday, the California men's basketball coaching staff hit the recruiting trail in a big way, going – en masse – to both Loyola and Cathedral Catholic high schools in Los Angeles to visit their top two targets for the remaining 2014 slots: Thomas Welsh and Idrissa Diallo.
For Diallo, the show of force by the Bears staff was a welcome one, and a unique experience.
"I think so far, the Cal staff is the only one who's done that, so far," said the 6-foot-10, 220-pound three-star center. "It says a lot, I think. They want me. My coach told me the fact that they all came to see me means that, if I commit there, I'm just not going to play for one of them; I'll be playing for all of them, with all of them, and they'll all be with me, supporting me and helping me."
Diallo performed a small workout in front of the coaches, practicing post moves, dribbling and free throws at about 75% intensity.
The visit heightened Diallo's already fever-pitched level of anticipation for his official visit to Berkeley, rescheduled to the Oregon State weekend, when his parents will come out from their native Senegal to join him.
"I'm super excited," Diallo said. "It's amazing. I don't even know what to say. I wasn't expecting something like this to happen. I thought my parents would come and maybe watch me in college, or maybe come and watch me graduate, but not this. The fact that they're coming means a lot, and I haven't seen them for two and a half years, now. It's a great thing."
The first time Diallo will lay eyes on his parents, in fact, will be in the hotel lobby.
During the staff visit, Diallo got a chance to catch up with how the program is doing, now that the Bears have now been practicing for a bit over a week.
"I talked to coach [Mike Montgomery] about how practice is going, the way they practice and how the players feel about the way they practice, and we talked about his family and a lot of things," Diallo said. "We joked around. It was very friendly. It's always fun talking to them."
Diallo has no more visits scheduled other than his trip up to Berkeley.
"That's the only visit I have on my calendar right now," he said.
When asked if he thinks it may be the last one, Diallo said, simply, "It might be. You never know."
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