Evaluating Atoumane Diagne

June 7th, 2020

by Alan Lu

I decided to watch CSP Limoges’ Senegalese center, Atoumane Diagne play in a French League basketball game against AS Monaco that happened on October 12th, 2019, as I was able to see this with thanks to YouTube via AB – Basket.  Diagne had received regular rotation minutes early in the French League, and since he is also a 1998-born international player, he is also automatically eligible to be selected in the 2020 NBA Draft.  As he had been receiving some playing time in some of the toughest leagues in the world, I set out to watch him play to see where he is at currently, and to assess his strengths and weaknesses.  Here is a breakdown of how he fared that day, as well as how well his skills may translate to the NBA.

CSP Limoges’ center, Atoumane Diagne is eligible to be selected in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Sallaud Thierry via Le Populaire Du Centre)

Atoumane Diagne showed a very good ability to score on hustle plays.  He would frequently score on rolls to the rim, as he would catch lobs to score on powerful alley-oop dunks.  He even caught one lob to score on a reverse jam, as he has good hands, coordination, and above average athletic gifts that allow him to excel as a finisher around the basket.  Plus, he also nearly scored on a put back earlier, but his teammate drew a foul beforehand so that shot didn’t count for him.  On the downside, Diagne did have one shot blocked on a roll to the rim, as his opponent leapt up higher to swat the shot that time.  He also took a long two-point shot from the baseline and his shooting form looked good, but he ended up missing on his lone shot from outside of the paint area.

Diagne is also an unselfish player that will make the extra pass to keep the ball moving, and he will also set numerous screens for his team on offense.  He was able to set one on-ball screen that helped enable his teammate to score on a drive early on in this match.  However, he did commit one turnover, as he threw a hasty entry pass that ended up getting tipped and intercepted by the opposition.

He also did a decent job of grabbing rebounds to help his team.  Diagne was able to leap up to grab defensive boards to help his team on the glass, and seemed to show pretty good ball awareness and solid length to collect some rebounds.  However, there were other times where he had trouble corralling in rebounds, as ended up missing out on extra boards that were in his area.

However, he will need to improve his defense.  For the positives, Diagne is a good shot blocker that will move his feet to swat shots in the paint, and he was able to swat one ball to a teammate due to possessing good length, timing, and instincts to do so.  He also managed to alter another shot inside to force a miss.  He also was able to poke a ball away and he caught a tipped pass from a teammate, as he will help his team get steals and deflections.  On the downside, he can sometimes be prone to misplaying his opponent in the post, and he also can tend to get beat off the dribble when defending in one-on-one situations.  Sometimes, he’ll be completely unaware of what’s happening on the ball, as he will miss opportunities to rotate to contest on drives, which will leave his teammates hanging out to dry if they get beat off the dribble when defending out on the perimeter.  Other times, he may tend to commit touch fouls, as he also may struggle to defend out on the perimeter at times, and he also will give up too much space to shooters to allow scores for them.

Overall, Atoumane Diagne is a strong, mobile big man that possesses a solid ability to score around the basket, and he can finish numerous plays above the rim to do so.  However, he will need to work on his jump shot, and he will need to improve his on-ball defense, as he will have to show that he can guard quicker players out in space.  Right now, he may be a long shot to be drafted, as he doesn’t have much draft buzz right now, but he could end up having a solid career in international basketball if he doesn’t make it to the NBA.  If he does make his way to the NBA, he might be able to compete for a backup center role in the league.

Other Notes:

CSP Limoges’ 6-4, 2001-born guard, Timothe Crusol played fairly well in limited minutes when he was on the floor.  He showed a good ability to score on strong drives to the basket, and he was able to use a subtle ball fake to score on a smooth layup midway through this game.

He also displayed fairly average playmaking skills.  He is an unselfish player that will look to find the open man, and he will get the ball to open shooters on offense.  However, he struggled more to handle the ball in traffic, which led him to commit a couple of turnovers.  He had a ball poked away when handling it up the court early on, and he also committed an offensive foul and a turnover when trying to handle the ball in traffic another time.

Though he didn’t collect a rebound in this game, Crusol was able to tip a ball to a teammate to help his team get a defensive board once.  He also played fairly average defense.  He was able to contest a shot in the post and a three to force some misses, and he also made a good rotation to defend a roll man to cut off the penetration to force his opponent to pass the ball on another possession.  However, sometimes he can be a bit foul prone, as he was called for a touch foul when trying to poke a ball away once, and he also committed an off-ball foul due to handchecking.  Another time, he had his hands down when defending an entry pass, as that led his team to allow a pass that set up a score for an opponent around the basket.

Overall, Timothe Crusol is a mobile, skilled combo guard that can score the basketball, but he will need to show that he can knock down outside shots and cut down on the number of turnovers he may commit in games.  If he can show that he can knock down long-range shots consistently and effectively run the point, that could help his chances considerably to get to the NBA.  He may be an interesting long-term prospect, and while he may be a project player right now, he may have the skills to develop into an NBA player if he works hard on his game and if he can continue to progress and develop his skills over time.

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