Earlier tonight, I reached out to 2015 signee Moustapha Diagne’s host father, David Wilder, to get an update on Diagne’s summer, as well as his preparation for next season.
In the short Q&A, Syracuse fans receive an update on Diagne’s summer workout focus, eligibility and his preparation for next season.
Ben Sigel: How is Tapha's visit to Senegal going? I understand it’s his first time returning home in quite a while.
David Wilder: Tapha is having a fun summer back in Dakar reconnecting with family and friends he has not seen since October 2012. His African Coach, Momo Sene, reports Tapha is working hard at conditioning (I’m told lots of beach running), with skills training and practice daily with his former DBA Academy teammates. When asked how he is improving, the words used were “more explosive!”
Ben Sigel: He's all set to arrive at Syracuse for the fall semester, correct?
David Wilder: As noted above, he is spending the summer visiting with his family in Senegal (and renewing his student visa) and, as a result, was unable to attend summer school. People need to remember he hasn’t been home since 2012. This absence was really stressed by the unexpected deaths of both his father last September and his younger sister Awa in February. He was unable to attend either funeral. He anticipates a return to New Jersey in early August and fully expects to be on campus shortly thereafter to begin school for the fall semester. He’ll be wearing #12 out of the respect for Baye Moussa Keita and his contribution to Syracuse both on and off the court.
Ben Sigel: How does Tapha, and your family, feel about Coach Hopkins taking over for Coach Boeheim in three seasons?
David Wilder: We are all very happy by the University’s decision to name Coach Hopkins the successor to Coach Boeheim. He is going to do a great job at every conceivable level of his responsibility – in practice, on the recruiting trail, mentoring, elevating the program and staff, and game day results.
Ben Sigel: Coming out of New Jersey as the No. 1 PF in the 2015 class, does he feel added pressure to perform right away?
David Wilder: Tapha prepared himself last summer to be part of a NIKE EYBL Peach Jam AAU National Championship and did it. He set a goal to lead Pope John to a NJ High School State Title and did it. He’s a winner. The entire staff has asked Tapha to continue to take a professional approach to his preparation because they want him to be counted on from DAY ONE. I think it’s safe to assume – regardless of the player or the school, if the coaching staff concludes you’re ready for meaningful minutes, then you’ll get meaningful minutes. If anyone knows Moustapha and his routine of 6am workouts, then they know he’ll be ready.