NCAA: Will the Naismith Trophy committee and Basketball HOF repair the injustice done to Mamadi Diakite and Jordan Nwora?

Two days ago, many observers and fans were both surprised and amazed at the announcement of the individual All-ACC awards for the 2019-2020 regular season made by the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) on Monday in Greensboro. On the eve of the publication of the list of finalists for the title of National Defender of the Year for the Naismith Trophy, we are entitled to wonder whether the injustice will be repaired or not?

Among these individual distinctions, two choices particularly shocked many observers and fans of American university basketball with Mamadi Diakite and Jordan Nwora in the victim's costume.

- The first choice that left no one indifferent is that of having given the Trophy of the Player of the year to Tre Jones, the PG of Duke, instead of the leader of Louisville, Jordan Nwora who deserves without question the because of its very good regular season, both individually and collectively. Needless to recall here the performances of Jordan Nwora who has long allowed Louisville to be in the Top 3 of the AP poll this season before finishing 3rd in the general classification of the ACC regular season ahead of Duke (4th) and behind Virginia (2nd). On an individual level, the Nigerian winger is the only ACC player to appear in the Top 10 in scoring (2nd with 18 average points per game), rebound (7.7 rebounds, 8th), in percentage of free throws (0.813, 4th), percentage of points scored (.440, 8th) and three-pointers per game (2.5, 2nd). Nwora has scored double-digit in 27 games this season and 67 times in his career. He therefore logically deserved to be elected POY in the ACC since he had a much better season than Tre Jones, who is not Duke's best player. On top of that, the Blue Devils lost their only game to Louisville this season.

Turning with an excellent average of 18 points at 44% success, 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game, Jordan Nwora's season is much better than that of the American PG Tre Jones, both individually and collectively. The Nigerian winger is a finalist for the Julius Erving Award and has been voted Player of the Year for Preseason in the ACC. Jordan Nwora competes with his Nigerian compatriot from Memphis, Precious Achiuwa for the trophy of the best small forward of the year on the national level. But the two African players are not immune to yet another injustice during the final decision for the Julius Erving trophy awarded by the Basketball Hall Of Fame. If the logic is followed, Jordan Nwora or Precious Achiuwa should be voted best Small Forward of the year.

- The second choice to offer the Defender of the Year trophy to Tre Jones at the expense of Mamdi Diakité is even more scandalous. Diakité did not benefit from the choice of his head coach Tony Bennett according to many sources close to the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). The Virginia coach preferred to support Kihei Clark for the DPOY (Defender Player Of the Year) trophy, but the American leader finishes his race in the third All-ACC team of the season. In addition, the native of Guinea was named in the second best team of the season, namely the ACC All-Second Team and also in the Defensive team of the season (ACC All-Defensive Team).

NCAA: Will the Naismith Trophy committee and Basketball HOF repair the injustice done to Mamadi Diakite and Jordan Nwora?

The trophy for the best defender of the year and that of the best player of the year went to the PG of Duke Tre Jones. Very controversial choices, on the one hand because of the classification of Duke (4th) in the regular season and on the other hand in the season of Virginia (2nd) which has the best defense on the national level. Diakité is naturally the best defender at the national level and he was not put on the list of candidates for the DPOY in ACC? How is it possible ? How can we explain it? Does coach Tony Bennett have a particular problem with the big men of Guinea? How is Kihei Clark a better defensive player than Mamadi Diakité? If so, why is he not on the list of semi-finalists for the DPOY of Naismith Trophy? So many questions that leave no one indifferent and which show how Virginia is not a good place for a player from Africa. A destination that is strongly discouraged.

Duke has notably lost all of his duels this season against Virginia (2nd) and Louisville (3rd), two higher ranked teams. In addition, Tre Jones is not Duke's best player this season, but rather Vernon Carey Jr who had a great season in his first year in college. Tre Jones does not deserve to be named to the first team of the season, especially POY and DPOY. These are scandalous choices that do not improve the image of the NCAA, which is already very tarnished by the lack of transparency with a system that has nothing to envy the Mafia.

Mamadi Diakité snubbed both in the ACC All-First Team of the season and for the Defender of the Year Trophy

Virginia's senior player Mamadi Diakité was named to the second All-ACC team and the All-Defensive ACC team of the year. But is it really in its place? The answer is no ! With Virginia, Diakité had an exceptional season in a new leadership role, bringing the Cavaliers from both ends of the field, ie in defense and in attack. He notably won all his duels against the best attackers in the country including the two players from Duke Vernon Carey Jr and Tre Jones.

With an excellent average of 13.8 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game without taking into account the statistics advanced largely in his favor, Diakité has been Virginia's most useful player this season and should be logically rewarded for the title of DPOY and a place in the ACC All-First Team of the season. But now, the Guinean strongman did not benefit from the support of his head coach Tony Bennett according to several sources close to the ACC unlike his competitor Tre Jones who had all the support of "coach K", coach - legendary of Duke. Bennett preferred to vote for Kihei Clark, in place of the leader of Virginia, Mamadi Diakité. A situation so new and which raises a lot of questions that observers are struggling to explain. Remember that Mamadi Diakité and Tre Jones are also in the running for the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year trophy. The Naismith Trophy committee will unveil the list of five finalists on March 12. We hope that the injustice will finally be repaired by the Naismith Trophy committee, because without any discussion, the national DPOY of the year should return by right to Mamadi Diakite. If the Virginia big men who had been named ACC player of the week twice this season had been placed on the DPOY list, he would surely have had that individual distinction. And nothing can justify such an absurd decision as it may seem from coach Tony Bennett who voluntarily decided to do without his defensive and offensive leader in support of American PG Kihei Clark.

One thing is certain, the second part of this unprecedented soap opera will be played at the level of the Naismith Trophy committee for the title of National Defensive Player of the Year. All eyes are on the Naismith Trophy committee which should logically announce Mamadi Diakité among these five finalists this Thursday.

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