Red Flash grad transfer can play immediately

Remember the 'new' NCAA rule that allowed Memphis transfer Almamy Thiero to play at Duquesne in 06-07 without waiting a year because he was enrolled in graduate school? Well, that was apparently a "one-and-done" rule change. Since August 2007, grad transfers sit out the year unless there's an allowable exception - St. Francis's Bassirou Dieng got one.

The rule was put into effect with the 1996-97 season but was seldom used. Practically, it was first known to be available in 2006-07.


Unfortunately, Almany Thiero played an average of 11.5 minutes (2.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg) in only 15 games due to injuries. The 6-foot-9, 255 pounder was to be Kieron Achara's (6-10) backup.

    His unavailability shouldn't have been a surprise since Thiero had missed the entire 2005-06 season due to an ACL surgery. He had played a total of five games in his first two seasons: surgery on his tibia and blood clots near his lungs. On January 19, 2007, Thiero was hospitalized again with the circulation problem. That pretty much ended his playing for the Dukes.

When Kieron needed a rest, Robert Mitchell and Scott Grote, both 6-foot-6, did their best. Each could play small forward yet defended legit power forwards and centers, especially in the Atlantic 10 part of the schedule. Both transferred after their freshman season, to Seton Hall and Wright State, respectively. Future playing time was a factor in their decisions.

Anywho, there were complaints about this rule from schools that were concerned other teams would get an unfair advantage. Could affect football the most since the majority of freshmen are redshirted their first year on campus and some will have completed their degree requirements in four years.

The current rule, effective 8/1/2007, puts graduate students in the same situation as any other Division I transfer. There are no specfic execptions for grads though perhaps ones will develop via "case law."

Bassirou Dieng is the beneficary of the NCAA's reasonable decision to allow him to transfer from St. Francis University of Loretto, Pa. to Georgia Tech.

His major is International Affairs, which seems like a good fit for the Dakar, Senegal native. It's not available at St. Francis. Therefore, the NCAA waived the one-year transfer requirement for Dieng.

St. Francis's first year head coach Don Friday said after receiving the NCAA finding, "He (Dieng) was very passionate about pursuing his masters degree in International Affairs at Georgia Tech, a program that we do not currently offer at Saint Francis University. Bass has our full support and we wish him well." (Friday previously was Division III Lycoming College head coach.)

  • Dieng played at Washington, D.C. area Riverdale Baptist High School and averaged 16 ppg, 8 rpg and 2 bpg.
  • His first collegiate home was Norfolk State of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. He averaged 2.0 ppg and 1.2 rpg in 2004-05.
  • His first year of competition at St. Francis of the Northeast Conference was 2006-07 when he averaged 6.3 points 3.9 rebounds, 1.0 blocks, 0.5 assists and 0.4 steals while shooting 45.5 percent from the floor and 47.6% beyond the arc for 6-23.
  • This past season he averaged 10.7 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks while shooting 46.7% overall, 44.4% from beyond the arc though he only put up nine attempts vs 21 in 06-07.

Fans may remember Dieng from Duquesne's 99-80 win over SFU on December 21, 2007. He had 11 points and five rebounds.

Georgia Tech is getting a player with four years college expierence, three on the court, who has shown statistical progression. This should be Dieng's best season as long as he gets a chance to play. The Rambling Wreck will have four players 6-foot-8 or taller.

Tech's head coach Paul Hewitt, said, "Coaches in their league that I have spoken with are very complimentary of his ability as a player and his character. We're happy that he has decided to attend Georgia Tech."

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