Less than a year ago, Moustapha Diagne was on his way to Syracuse University as one of four members of Syracuse's 2015 recruiting class, which was ranked No. 8 by ESPN's RecruitingNation Class Rankings.
Then, in late August, it was revealed that an academic issue would prevent Diagne from enrolling at Syracuse, forcing him to enroll at a junior college instead. The 6'9" center wound up at Northwest Florida State College, helping the Raiders to the NJCAA Tournament quarterfinals.
Of course, by now, we know well the other three members of that class. Malachi Richardson, Tyler Lydon, and Frank Howard all played an important role in helping Syracuse make an improbable run to this year's Final Four.
It turns out, though, that we may still get a chance to know Diagne, after all. This week, Diagne's JUCO coach and his host father both told Syracuse.com that the Syracuse coaches remain interested in the big man.
"There are a number of schools looking at him," said David Wilder, whose family hosted Diagne in New Jersey while he attended Pope John High School, "but Syracuse remains one of his top choices."
Northwest Florida coach Steve DeMeo added that Syracuse has continued to show interest over the course of this school year. DeMeo also listed Syracuse along with Cincinnati, Seton Hall, and TCU among Diagne's suitors.
Now that he has enrolled in junior college, Diagne must stay until he earns his junior college degree. That means he will be part of the 2017 recruiting class.
This past season, Diagne averaged 10.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, despite playing only 20.2 minutes per game. He was named Co-Freshman of the Year in the Panhandle Conference, and first team all-state.
"He had a very, very productive freshman year," DeMeo said. "He dominated at times. He'll be one of the best returning bigs in the country next year."
During the season, the Syracuse coaches were not allowed to make direct contact with Diagne. However, coaches from four-year schools can begin to make contact with junior college players in early May, so we'll keep our eyes out for more news on the re-kindling of this relationship.
Wilder wanted to emphasize that there are no hard feelings over his academic situation that prevented his from enrolling at Syracuse.
"The relationship is good," Wilder said. "The focus is [on his academics] right now, as it should be."