New Marquette head coach Shaka Smart is still out there on the recruiting trails, beating the bushes to make up for time he never had with the Class of 2022 while representing the Golden Eagles. MU doesn’t have a commitment in the class yet, but that’s not going to stop Smart from working, and on Saturday night, we got word of a new scholarship offer. This time around, it’s Malik Dia, a forward from the great state of Tennessee.
So thankful for the offer to Marquette. Truly is a blessing pic.twitter.com/ipKWPX6cJX— malik dia (@malikkdia) July 11, 2021
We have some unpacking to do in terms of information we know about Dia. He has a 247 Sports page, which lists him as a 6’7”, 190 pound power forward. He’s from Nashville, Tennessee, where he attends Ensworth High School. From there, things get a little weird. 247’s Composite system says he is currently ranked #259 in the country, and he’s only been in the Composite since June 30, 2021. That makes him a three-star prospect, which is why I say we have some unpacking. Dia’s own Twitter bio says he’s a four-star prospect, which appears to be coming from ESPN. I’m not quite so sure about that, as they have Dia as the #43 power forward and you have to go all the way up to #20 on 247’s PF rankings to get into four-star territory..... while Dia is down at #50. I’m not saying the four-star thing is not accurate, but I’m saying some things don’t really match up right now.
The list of official offers for Dia is not terribly extensive at this point. Before Marquette got involved, Dia listed off Vanderbilt, Nebraska, TCU, Creighton, St. John’s, and Loyola Chicago when talking to Zach Smart of ZagsBlog in late June. That same conversation also brought up a few more high majors sniffing around to see what’s what regarding Dia, but the offers aren’t official yet. By the way: It’s worth noting that the article says he’s 6’9”, not 6’7”, and this write up from Endless Motor in late April says he’s 6’10”.
Here’s a scouting report on Dia from the BCAT Hoops Tennessee Team Camp in Memphis that Hoop Seen published on June 23rd:
His game continues to be on an upward trajectory. His outside shot is true but he tends to settle for the jumper when a post surge could be just as effective. He has wonderful next level size and his maturity level continues to progress in the right direction. He can board when motivated and maintaining this consistency is all that separates him from the level he wishes to attain.
Max Preps has stats for Dia at Ensworth from this past season. They list him with 16 games played as the team assembled a record of 14-9. He was second on the team in scoring at 15.3 points per game and tops in rebounding at 9.8 per contest. He also added an assist and a block per game, which is pretty good on both counts.
Here’s two-plus minutes of highlights from November 2020:
And another minute’s worth from April of this year:
On to the scholarship chart!
Based on the collection of Kur Kuath, Olivier-Maxence Prosper, Emarion Ellis, and Keeyan Itejere, it certainly seems like Shaka Smart enjoys himself options in the “intriguingly athletic tall guy” department. Dia seems to fit right in there, especially if he tilts towards 6’9”/6’10” as reported. I’m not sure if Marquette really needs another guy like that for 2022, but the Golden Eagles are looking at four open scholarships that can be filled, and well, putting a tall athletic guy on the roster as one of those four is definitely not a bad idea.