CHICAGO -- Eight of the 24 players in Wednesday night's McDonald's All-America game have yet to decide where they will play their college basketball. It's an unusually high number, as most top recruits usually decide where they will go before their senior seasons finish.
Cheick Diallo is one of those eight prospects. A 6-9 power forward, Diallo has impressed NBA scouts and recruiting experts with his strength, athleticism and effort during practices. His nonstop motor makes him a force as a defender and rebounder, and he's shown a soft touch near the basket.
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Diallo had 18 points and 10 rebounds and won MVP honors to lead the East to a 111-91 win over the West.
A force around the rim, Diallo slammed in several dunks while also showing a nice touch from the free-throw line.
"I played great," Diallo said with a smile after the game. "My teammates passed me the ball and I got out some fast breaks."
A native of Mali, Diallo played at Our Savior New American in Centereach, averaging 19 points, 14 rebounds and four blocks per game. He is down to his final five college choices, with St. John's, Pittsburgh, Kansas, Kentucky and Iowa State in the running.
Diallo said his college decision is coming soon, but he is waiting on a few other choices to be made before he determines where he wants to go.
"I'm just thinking about it, but I'm not 100 percent now. Not sure yet," he said. "I'm waiting to know which players are going to the NBA or which players are staying. So that's what I'm waiting for."
Diallo is the first New York product to win the game's MVP since Rice's Felipe Lopez in 1994.
"This is was my first time playing in front of a big crowd, so I was nervous and scared. But once I got out there playing I was very excited."