Diarra Inks with Tigers
April 24, 2000
MEMPHIS, TN - Modibo Diarra, a 6-9, 235-pound post player from Notre Dame Prep School in Fitchburg, Mass., signed a National Letter of Intent to play basketball for the University of Memphis under new coach John Calipari, as announced by the school today.
Diarra will make his formal announcement tonight at Slattery's Restaurant in Fitchburg. His high school jersey will also be retired tonight.
A native of Mali, West Africa, Diarra is considered by many recruiting services as one of the best defensive threats in the country. He is rated as the fourth-best center in the nation by Bill Hodge for ESPN.COM, and 23rd amongst the Top 50 frontcourt players by Stephen Wacaser for ESPN.COM. FOX Sports listed Diarra as number 22nd out of the nation's top 40 players, and David Kaplan of Basketball News ranked him 26th out of 100 of the nation's best prep players from the Class of 2000.
"We are really happy we could get a player of this caliber this late," said Calipari. "He adds size to our team and an aggressive style. He will be good for us."
Diarra averaged 10 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots for coach Bill Barton at Notre Dame Preparatory School. He attended the 1999 Nike All-America Camp and was described by Adam Nicholas (Nicholas Scouting Services) as "a physical, imposing, raw big man who ran the floor extremely well for a man of his size."
Diarra is the fourth prep star to sign with the Tigers for the 2000-2001 campaign, and the second that Calipari has signed since joining the staff last month. He joins Arthur Barclay of Camden, New Jersey, who signed just over a week ago, and Memphis natives Scooter McFadgon and Lou Wright of Raleigh-Egypt High School who both signed during the early signing period last November.