Diarra has
terrific debut
Hassan Diarra was Buzz Williams’ top recruiting target from the Class of 2020, and the early returns have been promising for the former Putnam Science Academy star at Texas A&M.
Diarra, who left PSA with two national championships and as its all-time leading scorer, has impressed with his work ethic, feel, and performance.
Through the Aggies first four games, Diarra has averaged 8.3 points in about 20 minutes of playing time. He had a terrific debut, going for 14 points, four assists, and six steals in a win over New Orleans.
“I feel pretty good,” said Diarra, who entered the starting lineup for the third game against Texas-Rio Grande Valley. “The adjustment hasn’t been so bad and I’m getting more and more comfortable with it. Still have plenty to work on and improve, so that’s my focus. Get better to help us be better and win.”
Diarra hasn’t shot the ball particularly well, making just 8-of-25 shots in the first four games, though he did make 13-of-16 free throws. He also has more turnovers than assists, but is playing well defensively. And no one is losing faith in his game.
“I don’t think we’re at the point where we found any consistency in knowing, like, this is who should start, this is who will help get us off to a better start. We’re still trying to figure that out,” Williams told reporters after the UTRGV game.
“Hassan did a good job in practice on Thursday and Friday. I didn’t think necessarily that he was great in the actual game. But you can’t base what they do in the game on who starts and who doesn’t start. You have to base that on a daily basis. And he is going in the right direction. But again, whether it’s Hassan, whether it’s (another player), we just need to find some consistency.”
After his dazzling debut, Diarra missed all four shots and turned it over four times in a win over Tarleton State, then was one of four Aggies to be plagued by foul trouble in the UTRGV game and played just 14 minutes. So it remains a work in progress, but his teammates have liked what they’ve seen.
Senior Quenton Jackson was excited about Diarra’s maturity, and is looking forward to seeing how that translates on the court over the course of a season.
“He’s really dedicated to the craft,” Jackson told the website 247sports.com. “He works out a lot, which I like. Most freshmen that come in they don’t really know how to work, I think just from the time that he has come in he’s understood what it means to be here, he hasn’t taken it for granted. I think he’s come a long way. I think mentally he is ahead of where most freshman would be as far as how he impacts the game; I think he will be a great addition to our team this year.”
Savion Flagg doubled-down on Jackson’s preseason comments, saying: “I feel like Hassan is already a late sophomore, early junior in the way he is playing.”
Diarra said that while 2020 hasn’t allowed for the typical gameday experiences, playing high-major college ball in College Station, Texas has been “everything I thought it would be. The arenas aren’t full but you can still feel the energy when you’re out there playing. It’s just been a blessing for me and I am very grateful.”
As is Williams.
“I love Hassan. I love him, I loved him from the very first day I talked to him, the first day I watched him play,” Williams told reporters. “We recruited him really, really hard.
“He’s what we need. He represents all that we want to be about on and off the floor and I think he’s going to be able to help us from the beginning.”
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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