As of early Sunday morning, the University of Kansas had yet to hear from the NCAA regarding its handling of the Cheick Diallo, KU coach Bill Self said.
But in the hours after Self went public with a blistering critique of the NCAA’s conduct, Self said he did hear from a couple of current college basketball coaches who shared his sentiments.
“The thing about it is,” Self said, speaking to reporters on the day before his team would begin the Maui Invitational, “there’s a bigger picture deal than just Cheick.”
For the moment, Kansas is still awaiting a resolution in the Diallo case. Diallo is in Maui with the Jayhawks, but he is not allowed to practice while on the road. The Jayhawks will open the tournament at 8 p.m. Monday against Chaminade. If he were ruled eligible before the end of the tournament, Diallo could potentially make his college debut here before the end of the three-day event on Wednesday.
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When and if Diallo is able to get on the floor, the Jayhawks would add a high-ceiling big man with a relentless motor and solid athleticism. But Self has cautioned about expecting too much from Diallo right away. In fact, Self has said that Diallo might not be a starter at the moment, even if he were eligible.
“He could change our team by conference, though, or by February,” Self said. “But no, he’s raw, and even though it doesn’t seem like a big penalty, his opportunity to play in games and play through mistakes was two exhibition games (and) our first game of the season.”
In a letter sent from KU to the NCAA on Nov. 10, KU athletic director Sheahon Zenger requested that the NCAA end the case and rule Diallo eligible right away. As of now, Self is hopeful that Kansas will hear back from the NCAA as soon as possible.
“I don’t want to say it’s a setback,” Self said of the missed time. “But for a guy that needs the reps like he does, it’s a bigger deal.”