Tuesday night’s home game against Loyola Maryland might not have grabbed much attention from Kansas basketball fans before the season began, but now that freshman Cheick Diallo will make his KU debut against the Greyhounds, Allen Fieldhouse will be buzzing.
Hey, Does anybody know if Cheick Diallo is ever going to get to play basketball for Kansas? … Remember when that was just about all KU fans could think about? Thankfully that’s finally over.
Diallo, a 6-foot-9 freshman from Mali, will finally put on his No. 13 Kansas jersey tonight and contribute something to the Jayhawks besides pre-game rebounding.
Diallo won’t start tonight — though the better he looks the more people will clamor for him to join KU���s first five. And with a guy of this caliber, it likely is only a matter of time before Diallo supplants Jamari Traylor/Landen Lucas for that fifth starting spot.
Bill Self expects the Allen Fieldhouse fans to lose their collective minds when Diallo checks in, and it’s hard to imagine him getting any different kind of reaction.
Diallo is so psyched to play, you might see him try a little too hard, leading to mistakes or bad fouls. But the guy really seems to be invested in learning how to become a better player — he’s always texting Bill Self to ask him how he practiced, things like that. So even if he doesn’t look like an impact player right off the bat, it’s hard to imagine him having much trouble catching up.
So, about those Loyola Greyhounds… they’re not exactly going to provide a stellar non-conference challenge. Loyola is 1-5 and allowing 79.0 points per game.
Greyhounds opponents have shot 48.2% from the field and 38.9% from 3-point range.
It’s hard to imagine a scenario in which Kansas doesn’t score a ton of points and win easily tonight, in Diallo’s debut.
While Loyola figures to give up plenty of points, they have a couple of guys KU will need to keep in check: Jarred Jones shoots 50% from the floor and keeps his game inside. He averages 16.8 points and 9.2 rebounds a game.
And Loyola has a legit 3-point sniper in Tyler Hubbard: 25-for-48 from long range on the season, 16.5 ppg.