Gaston Diedhiou was one of two international incoming freshman for Richard Pitino and staff. A native of Senegal, Diedhiou is a 6-9 PF who played his high school basketball last year in the Canary Islands.
In most cases the most difficult hurdle to cross in order to gain admission and be eligible for a scholarship is the NCAA's Clearinghouse (see Jeff Jones saga). In this case Diedhiou has been cleared by the NCAA and the roadblock is coming from the University's office of admissions. It appears as Diedhiou's problem before gaining admission to the U was his Test of English as a Foreign Language. This from Amelia.
Minnesota does not have any thresholds for proficiency test scores set in stone, director of admissions Rachelle Hernandez said, but the results are considered as part of a holistic review done for every applicant. After being advised by other members of the department, Hernandez ultimately makes the decision whether to admit the prospective student.
"Our assessment is really related to can the student be successful academically and can they be successful in an English-speaking setting," Hernandez said, speaking generally about the admissions process. "Admissions decisions are never based on just one thing."
Diedhiou can retake the TOEFL test to gain admission but it will not be until next semester, allowing him to join the team in December or January. So what does this mean for Gopher basketball?
For the 2014-15 season, I don't think has a significant negative impact on the Gophers. At PF the Gophers will have Joey King, Charles Buggs and Josh Martin to eat up minutes. Center will be manned by Elliott Eliason and Mo Walker with the other international big man Bakary Konate, who is fully admitted, available in a pinch. There were not likely to be a lot of minutes available in the frontcourt. But next season there are going to be some big shoes to fill in the paint.
Where this makes more of an impact is on the 2015-16 season. I think most of us assumed that Diedhiou would redshirt this season to develop and then be a key contributor the following season. Amelia also points out that as it stands the Gophers will head into the 2015-16 season with exactly one player taller than 6-8, Diedhiou would be the second should he eventually gain admission.
We'll keep en eye on Diedhious's progress. It would seem like retaking the Test of English as a Foreign Language is the next step but that will not occur for a few months so this story isn't likely to go anywhere anytime soon.