DENVER (BVM) — One high school athlete in the Centennial State to keep tabs on is Assane Diop, who made the journey from Senegal and is now one of the top basketball prospects in the nation.
Diop was always the tallest growing up. He stood out among his peers, which didn’t sit well with him. He almost didn’t pursue a basketball career because of how uncomfortable he felt.
“I didn’t want to play basketball,” Diop said. “I was getting taller every day. Everyone was telling me, ‘Yo, you need to play basketball.’ I was the biggest player on my team, in my family and in my friend group. Everywhere I went, I was the tallest.”
But Diop started to pursue basketball with a bit of persuasion from his family.
“One day, my dad said, ‘You know what, you need to play basketball,’” Diop said. “And when my dad says something, you do it.”
Diop listened to his father and, soon after, made the move to the United States. He joined Belleview Christian High School, and during his sophomore season, he averaged 16.1 points, grabbed 19.1 rebounds and dished out 7.1 assists. His performances helped the Bruins win a state title.
Diop transferred to Denver Prep Academy (DPA) after his time with Belleview. He’d average 8.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 2.8 assists over 13 games. He joined Baye Fall at DPA, and they became a dynamic duo on the court.
"Baye Fall (left) received the MVP for the Top 30 Team at the Pangos All-American event today for the second year in a row; Assane Diop (right) made the Top 50 Team. We are honored at Accelerated Schools to be a part of their academic and athletic journey to the top! pic.twitter.com/UFiKTFdxgr
— Accelerated Schools (@AcceleratedWay) June 8, 2022
“Playing with Baye is so fun,” Diop said. “It’s something I wish we could keep doing.”
Diop committed to the University of Colorado, while Fall committed to the University of Arkansas. Both wanted to keep competing together, but it was something that didn’t seem right at the moment. Now, Diop will stay in Colorado and play for the Buffaloes.
“Before I committed, I got 22 or 23 offers,” Diop said. “It was just kind of difficult thinking about how you have to choose one school. It was hard to choose what school you have to go to. I have my family to thank for that. I’m just thankful they were able to lead me to Colorado. It was the right place for me.”
4⭐️ recruit Assane Diop commits to the University of Colorado.
— DNVR Buffs (@DNVR_Buffs) November 15, 2022
One of the reasons Diop wanted to attend Colorado was that he would be able to stay around familiar surroundings. It’s something that has the potential to help an athlete succeed and help a young person like Diop feel more comfortable.
“I’ve been here almost three years,” Diop said. “Being here has helped me a lot with my schoolwork. And being home too; it just made sense for me.”
Diop is now at Accelerated Prep and eager to show the nation his skills are for real. Not only do the thoughts of others want to make him work harder, but the thought of making his family, especially his mom, proud pushes Diop to perform at his best.
“Just thinking about her makes me feel good inside and makes me want to work harder,” Diop said.
Diop seems to be on the right path regarding his athletic future. He’s put so much into this sport and bet on himself by coming to the U.S. It means a lot to him, and he will more than likely continue to have the mindset to be the best in Boulder.
“For me, it’s a big deal,” Diop said. “I put my life on it. I put everything on it. I’d rather do basketball than anything right now. If I’m not in school, I’m playing basketball. There’s nothing I’d rather be doing.”