Former School: Texas A&M
New School: UConn
Years Remaining: Three
Recruiting Ranking: 82nd
2021-22 Stats: 6.2 ppg/1.8 rpg/1.4 apg/15.4 mpg; 37.1%/32.7%/71.8%
Coming out of Putnam High School, Hassan Diarra was a consensus top-100 recruit. The 6-2 guard from Queens had long arms and good instincts as a prospect.
Diarra chose Texas A&M and Buzz Williams over schools including Georgia and Indiana, and he started in 6 of his 18 appearances as a freshman. He averaged 5.8 points in just under 20 minutes per night, and he managed over a steal per game despite the short minutes.
In his sophomore year, Diarra saw a dip in his minutes despite an increase in scoring. He played just 15.4 minutes per game and started just 3 of Texas A&M’s 40 games. Diarra cleaned up his game, seeing his shooting numbers improve across the board while his turnovers dropped. Still, he was still largely the same player in limited minutes, one capable of making an impact but equally as likely to disappear.
After two years with the Aggies, Diarra opted to enter the portal and chose to play under Dan Hurley at UConn. He still has three years of eligibility remaining.
What’s His Game?
Hassan Diarra has been a wing guard at the collegiate level, spending most of his time on offense off the ball and on the perimeter. His 3-point shooting improved last season, jumping from 30.4 percent on 46 attempts to 32.7 percent on 104 attempts. While nothing special on the outside, he was good enough to hit open shots and knock down the occasional tough one - including a buzzer-beating game winner in the SEC Tournament.
Buzz Williams used Diarra often on actions in the corner and on the wing to get him open looks. As a bench scorer, Diarra is good enough to make an impact in that role.
Diarra (5) improved from a 30.4% to a 32.7% 3-point shooter from his freshman to his sophomore year.— Matt St. Jean (@mattstdream) July 28, 2022
While he isn't the best shooter, he's capable of hitting open shots and of being a depth perimeter option in an offense. pic.twitter.com/a6hFj0drPQ
Diarra is also an acrobatic finisher at the basket. While not always efficient, his long arms and touch allow him to hit shots most others could not. UConn fans will be in for a treat with his highlights, and Big East opponents are sure to be frustrated when these shots go in against them.
He is a decent finisher around the rim, where he hit 52.2% of his shots last year. With his long arms, he has ability to finish some crazy shots. pic.twitter.com/SfOss7S90w— Matt St. Jean (@mattstdream) July 28, 2022
Turnovers are still an issue for the rising junior. He improved his turnover rate from 28.7 percent to 21.4 percent from his freshman to his sophomore year, but that number is still too high for him to be anything but a depth ballhandler. He has a high and awkward dribble that makes it difficult for him to drive the lane at times, and his vision is inconsistent.
Diarra has had issues with both dribbling in traffic and turnovers. Those bit him here against Xavier. pic.twitter.com/K92RG2VljM— Matt St. Jean (@mattstdream) July 28, 2022
Diarra has the length to be a factor on defense, but he has questionable quickness and often found himself slow to react. He forced plenty of steals as a freshman, but that dipped last season. He has the frame to be a great guard and wing defender, but things haven’t panned out that way so far.
Diarra is not the quickest athlete, and he had a habit of reacting late and getting caught out of position on defense. pic.twitter.com/XzPdI5YjSm— Matt St. Jean (@mattstdream) July 28, 2022
What’s His Role?
With Dan Hurley switching to a 4-out system next year, Diarra should get plenty of opportunities in a system that should fit him. He will likely be the first or second guard off the bench behind Tristen Newton, Nahiem Alleyne, Jordan Hawkins, and Andre Jackson.
Hurley’s adjustments should create more space in the offense. Wider lanes should help Diarra as a driver, and the quality scoring around him will mean less pressure to produce. If the Huskies push the pace at all, Diarra will also be helpful there. The less traffic there is, the better he plays. If Hurley can get him into those spots, he’ll find success as a depth piece at minimum.
Diarra has three years of eligibility remaining, setting him up for a bigger role in the future. With Alleyne set to depart after this season, Diarra will have every chance to become a starter should he clean up his game.