Jayhawks’ Bill Self ‘confident’ NCAA will clear 5-star recruit Cheick Diallo

Cheick Diallo won the MVP award at April’s McDonald’s All-American All-Star Game. (USATSI)

One of the biggest impending decisions from the NCAA’s clearinghouse on player eligibility for the 2015-16 season centers around Kansas’ Cheick Diallo. The five-star big man in the high school class of 2015 has been cleared by KU, but big brother is still milling over Diallo’s academic credentials.

Jayhawks coach Bill Self, for the first time, is publicly saying he’s confident Diallo will play for Kansas this season. While flanked by reporters at a local country club (Self was there for a charity event), he said, “The thing about it is … it’s been mis-reported a lot, that there’s been good news, bad news. There hasn’t been any news because the NCAA hasn’t told us ‘no’ on Cheick. They haven’t told us ‘yes.’ But also we haven’t wanted them to tell us anything yet, either, because I think it’s nice to see how things play out with other kids who went to that school so we have a better angle of what we’re trying to address, than just going in there cold saying, ‘Here’s your stuff, make a determination.'”

Self said he was “confident” Diallo will get the green light from the NCAA. But will the NCAA force Diallo to sit to start the season? That still remains to be seen. College basketball’s regular season is still 10 weeks away. Self said recently he wasn’t expecting a judgment from the NCAA until mid-September at the earliest.

The hang-up stems from Diallo’s high school: Our Savior New American. Located in the middle of Long Island, the subjects and courses Diallo took in attaining a high school diploma may not meet the standards the NCAA has in place for student-athletes under scholarship. Other players, like Alabama’s former top prospect, failed to qualify after having attended (in part) Our Savior New American. Oklahoma State also had a committed recruit come up short in the eyes of the NCAA. He too attended Our Savior New American. Others who graduated from Our Savior New American have gone on to be OK’d by the NCAA’s clearinghouse.

“This is certainly one that is in no fault of his,” Self said re: Diallo, according to KUSports.com. “He goes to school for three and a half years and finds out after he graduates, ‘Hey we could have a potential problem.’ Hopefully it could be rectified.”

Diallo’s talent is one of NBA-first-round quality. An agile big man with undeniable strength and stamina, his inclusion to this year’s KU team could be vital to putting the Jayhawks in the Final Four conversation. His ability as a big man is so defined and different, on Monday Self said Diallo “can create pace better than any point guard we’ve ever had here. Just because the dude from rim to rim is as good as I’ve seen.”

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