French forward Ousmane Dieng is entering the 2022 NBA Draft and is expected to be selected with a lottery pick, per Adrian Wojnarowski and Jonathan Givony of ESPN.
Dieng, 18, is 6-foot-10 and spent this past season with the NBL Next Stars program in Australia.
“Playing in a tough league with really good players was really good for me,” Dieng told Wojnarowski and Givony. “I learned a lot. The transition was significant, going up against much better players than I saw in France. The game is faster. Everyone is more physical.
“… I had to work on my body and I was lucky to have a great strength and conditioning coach. I improved my defense a lot this past year. The coaches had a big role in my improvement. I trusted them when I was struggling. I kept working and improved my game.”
He added that he can defend nearly every position, from point guard to power forward. Many NBA scouts seem to feel the same.
“After watching a New Zealand Breakers practice, shootaround and NBL game in Cairns, Australia, Dieng reminded me exactly why he was once considered a top-10 prospect in this class and should earn late lottery consideration once NBA execs get eyes on the 18-year-old,” wrote ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz.
While Dieng is considered a possible lottery pick, he is currently ranked as the No. 18 prospect on ESPN’s list of the top 100 prospects. Tankathon has Dieng being selected in the second round (No. 34) overall by the Thunder in its most recent mock draft.