Cheick Diallo was forced to wait. So was Kansas. When he was finally cleared, he made an entrance. Then, he MADE an entrance.
Diallo overcame early game jitters to pour in 13 points and provide highlights in Kansas’ 94-59 win, Tuesday night and as Kansas hosts Harvard, Saturday, head coach Bill Self has to love what the much ballyhooed freshman can provide.
"He's not going to score 13 points every game. This was a good game because he could score over their smaller guys, but he did fine,” Self said. “He played well. He tries hard. He's just so raw, but he does have pretty good touch for a guy that's so raw. We're not going to get 13 points and six rebounds out of him every night, but if he can give us energy and be a shot-blocker and things like that, it will certainly help our team be better on offense because then we'll be able to run more."
When Diallo was forced to sit out because of an NCAA investigation, you had to think it would wear on Self. However, to no one’s surprise, that wasn’t the case.
"It hadn't been a big deal to me. To be honest, I have kind of enjoyed it. I think when you have something that you believe so strongly in and you know that it's right, I think it's fun to fight,” Self said. “I have enjoyed that part of it. But I haven't enjoyed the part of him not being able to participate. Getting past 'this', there is no 'this' with me. All we have to do is just try to get our team better and certainly it was maybe a bigger deal to other people that Cheick was playing but it really worked out well for the timing standpoint. This being his first game was a perfect scenario to get out there and run and get his legs underneath him."