The San Diego State Aztecs men’s basketball team added Tahirou Diabate to the squad as the former University of Portland player will transfer to SDSU.
Long before it was cool, San Diego State basketball was having tremendous success bringing in transfers from other programs.
Deandre Moore and Tony Bland came to SDSU from Vanderbilt and Syracuse respectfully to help the Aztecs win their first Mountain West Title in 2002. Malcolm Thomas rode a long wave south from Pepperdine to form a dominant frontcourt with Kawhi Leonard. Josh Davis rode a “green wave” of his own west to the Mesa from Tulane. OHe was instrumental on a sweet 16 team.
More recently, Malachi Flynn, Yanni Wetzel, Joshua Tomaic, and Terrell Gomez have come to the SDSU and help lead the team to Mountain West Championships.
The Aztecs have been far from perfect, bringing in players from the portal. Tommy Johnson, Travis Hanover, Wesley Stokes, and James Johnson are all examples of high profile players who came to SDSU from other programs but failed to live up to the hype surrounding their transfer. On Monday, SDSU added another transfer.
Tahirou Diabate entered the transfer portal in March and announced on Twitter where he intends to play. Diabate sat out the 2020 – 2021 season for personal reasons. In 2019 -2020 averaged 9.6 points and 5.1 rebounds a game. His best game of the season was a 25 point performance on the road against Pepperdine.
After a long period of reflection with my family and friends, I am very happy to announce that I will be joining #GoAztecs for my last year of college. Personally, I know this is a great opportunity, and I am looking forward to the challenges that come with it!! (God is great!) pic.twitter.com/210hTJLHyX
— #GeantJunior (@TahirouDe) April 26, 2021
While the team’s identity will be formed throughout the summer and in the fall leading up to the season, Diabate’s addition potentially helps the Aztecs in several ways. SDSU favors a positionless style of basketball; however, on paper, there was a need in the frontcourt for Brian Dutcher’s squad. Matt Mitchell played half of the year at the power forward, and his departure left a hole to be filled.
Returning players Kashad Johnson and Aguek Arop are both capable of playing the four, but their strengths are being a matchup nightmare at the three. When they can use their size against smaller players, they bring an element of toughness, switching on defense, and offensive rebounding that is elite.
Coach Dutcher could also choose to use Diabate for depth in the frontcourt, which would allow him to play Joshua Tomaic and Nathan Mensah together more. Only once last season, against Utah State, were both on the court at the same time. With a full summer of workouts with the staff, Tomaic’s skills as a stretch four could be utilized more because Diabate can substitute at either the four or the five.
The Mali native joins Matt Bradley as a transfer coming to the Mesa for the 2021-2022 season. With fresh faces entering the portal and scholarships available, SDSU could continue to be actively looking for the players to compete next season. On the other hand, with the number of returning players, the Aztecs might be finished adding pieces for next year. Whatever the case, coach Dutcher and his staff are hoping Diabate will join the long list of successful transfers to the program.