Gonzaga lands Ismaila Diagne from Real Madrid

Bulldogs filled their final open scholarship after the 7-footer announced his commitment on social media
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The 2024 offseason has been quite eventful for the Gonzaga Bulldogs.

Mark Few and the coaching staff brought in a talented transfer portal class that includes All-WCC wing Michael Ajayi, Arkansas grad transfer Khalif Battle, defensive specialist Emmanuel Innocenti from Tarleton State and Braeden Smith, the Patriot League Player of the Year this past season.

Other times, no news was good news — no last-minute portal entries or draft declarations from last season’s starting five means the Bulldogs will welcome back seven of their top eight scorers. 

Perhaps the cherry on top of the offseason came Monday, when Ismaila Diagne, a 7-foot center from Senegal who’s played with Real Madrid’s youth and national teams, announced he’s committed to Gonzaga in a social media post.

Diagne, 17, will bring his talents to Spokane after he averaged 10.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists to help lead the Real Madrid U18 team to victory at the Adidas Next Generation Tournament during the EuroLeague Final Four in May. The youth team also won the Podgorica Tournament earlier this season, as Diagne averaged 11.0 points and 7.8 rebounds across four games in the event. Over the course of his time with the youth team, Real Madrid has finished first in seven of the eight tournaments since the 2020-21 season.

Diagne logged time with the Real Madrid national team as well. In four games in the Spanish Liga Endesa (ACB) this season, he averaged 5.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks in 12.5 minutes. Diagne also appeared in two EuroLeague games with the club.

For the Zags, Diagne could be an important piece of the frontcourt rotation for the future as Graham Ike and Ben Gregg head into their respective senior seasons next fall. Whether or not his impact is felt right away as a freshman, Diagne will likely have time to adjust his game to fit what the team needs from him and how he fits in with the U.S. college game.

Diagne has drawn some NBA Draft buzz from scouts as a solid rim protector who does most of his work offensively around the rim and with cutbacks. NBA Draft Room puts Diagne’s draft projection as a second-round pick in either 2025 or 2026.

Gonzaga's roster for the 2024-25 season appears set after Diagne claimed the 13th and final scholarship. Looking ahead, five-star recruit Davis Fogle, the No. 1 recruit in Washington in the 2025 class, is set to take an official visit from June 28-29. Jalen Haralson, a 6-foot-6 wing and five-star recruit in 2025, said he's also hoping to visit in the near future.

Isiah Harwell, another top-10 recruit in next year's class, listed Gonzaga among his final four schools earlier this week. Four-star wing Nik Khamenia has also visited campus multiple times and is considered a high-priority target.

Depending on how the high school recruiting process shakes out, Few and his coaching staff have set up the Zags to be competitive for the foreseeable future. Also Smith, a Seattle native, will redshirt next season and will likely take over lead guard duties once Ryan Nembhard and Nolan Hickman graduate.


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Cole Forsman

COLE FORSMAN

Cole Forsman is a reporter for Gonzaga Nation, a member of Sports Illustrated’s FanNation network. Cole holds a degree in Journalism and Sports Management from Gonzaga University.