Hungry Jack's NBL
Dieng, Besson Turn Attention to NBA Draft
NBL Next Star Ousmane Dieng has declared for the 2022 NBA Draft after a strong season with the New Zealand Breakers.
Dieng is projected to be the 18th pick in the draft, according to ESPN. After an impressive finish to his NBL campaign, Dieng’s draft stock is expected to rise.
Dieng has scored in double figures in his last four games, including a career high 22 points against the South East Melbourne Phoenix in round 19. He also added six rebounds and six assists in that game as he showcased his full range of skills.
The 18-year-old is averaging 13.2 points and 4.0 rebounds in his last 11 games and since the start of March, he has been shooting 51.4 percent from the field and 46.7 percent from beyond the arc since April.
“I’ve grown as a player through facing adversity and became a tougher person playing all the games away from home, in a different country, and speaking a different language,” said Dieng.
“Each month, I was able to grow my game and finished strong due to training with my teammates and coaching staff.”
“The Breakers have outstanding coaches, and I have improved everywhere, particularly my defense, as I was able to play against great former NBA players,” he said.
The Breakers, NBL and Dieng have agreed to allow the 18-year-old to go home to France early, to spend time with family and friends, before heading to America for draft preparations.
Fellow youngster Hugo Besson will also miss the rest of the season to prepare for the draft. Besson is currently listed at 32 in ESPN's most recent mock draft behind teammate Dieng.
“We are extremely pleased to have played a part in Ousmane’s basketball journey,” Hungry Jack’s NBL Commissioner Jeremy Loeliger said.
“Ousmane has grown immensely throughout the season, especially in the second half of the campaign, and has laid the foundations for what we are sure will be a long and successful NBA career.
“It has been a pleasure to deal with Ousmane, his family, his representatives, and the Breakers while he has been in Australia. The opportunity for him to spend quality time at home with loved ones before the draft will be a special time for Ousmane and his family.
“The NBL is very proud to have played a role in demonstrating Ousmane’s talent to the world and we look forward to welcoming more exciting Next Stars next season.”
Dieng scored in double figures in 8 of his last 10 games, including performances of 22 points, 18 points and 17 points on back-to-back occasions.
His length and athleticism also created problems for opposing players on both the offensive and defensive end of the floor.
Dieng is set to become the latest NBL Next Star to join the NBA after Josh Giddey, LaMelo Ball, RJ Hampton, Brian Bowen Jr and Didi Louzada.