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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga in pursuit of 7-foot Senegalese prospect Ismaila Diagne

Gonzaga’s inroads in Europe have the Bulldogs on the verge of landing a 7-foot prospect who’s spent the last two years developing in Real Madrid’s youth academy.

Ismaila Diagne, a 17-year-old center from Senegal who most recently played for the Spanish powerhouse’s under-18 team, is squarely on Gonzaga’s radar and could become the latest international prospect to announce a commitment to the Bulldogs.

Multiple Spanish outlets reported Tuesday morning that Diagne had pledged to Gonzaga, but a source told The Spokesman-Review a commitment was not finalized at that point.

The source did confirm Gonzaga’s interest in Diagne and suggested the Bulldogs were down the stretch with the Real Madrid prospect, “but not done.”

Diagne, who turns 18 years old in December, would join the Zags for the 2024-25 season and fill the 13th and final scholarship spot on Mark Few’s roster. After losing starting forward Anton Watson to graduation and European players Luka Krajnovic and Pavle Stosic to the transfer portal, Gonzaga reloaded its roster by adding four transfers: Pepperdine’s Michael Ajayi, Arkansas’ Khalif Battle, Tarleton State’s Emmanuel Innocenti and Colgate’s Braeden Smith.

It’s unclear how Diagne would fit into the equation for a Gonzaga team that brings back two starting frontcourt players in Graham Ike and Ben Gregg, along with top reserve Braden Huff, but the African-born center could be a candidate for minutes off the bench, or in certain matchups with his unique size and verticality. At 7 feet, Diagne would be the tallest player on GU’s roster next season, edging out Gregg and Huff, who both stand 6-foot-10.

While playing for Real Madrid’s U-18 team in the Berlin-based Adidas Next Generation Tournament, Diagne averaged 10.2 points per game on 55.6% shooting from the field while averaging 7.8 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. Diagne started in six of eight games while helping Real Madrid capture a ANGT title with an 85-84 overtime win over PFBB INSEP Paris, a French-based team led by Nolan Traore, a Gonzaga recruit who’s been projected as a lottery pick in the 2025 NBA Draft.

Diagne scored 10 points on 2 of 6 from the field and 6 of 12 from the free throw line while pulling down seven rebounds and delivering three assists in the championship game. Traore scored 18 points with five assists and four rebounds for INSEP Paris.

While playing four games for Real Madrid in the Spanish Liga Endesa (ACB) this season, Diagne averaged 5.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game.

A native of Nguekhokhe, Senegal, Diagne has been part of Real Madrid’s youth academy since 2020.

The Zags have a strong track record when it comes to developing international players, especially at the forward and center positions. Domantas Sabonis (Lithuania), Rui Hachimura (Japan), Killian Tillie (France), Ronny Turiaf (France), Filip Petrusev (Serbia) and Kelly Olynyk (Canada) are some of the most prominent foreign prospects who carved out professional careers after multiple seasons at Gonzaga.