(Pau-France) – Former Sheridan College General All-American, Moustapha Diarra has signed a professional contract to play basketball for the Élan Béarnais Pau-Orthez in his native France. After two years on the court for the Sheridan Generals, Diarra went on to become a two-year letter-winner for the University of San Francisco. While at San Francisco, Diarra helped lead the Dons to the quarterfinals of the 2011 CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament in his final season.
During his first season at Sheridan, Diarra garnered his first All-Region IX Defensive Player of the Year honor, as well as an all-league selection while averaging 10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per contest. His sophomore season showed his growth and improvement as his production increased to 18.6 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. During his sophomore season Diarra was awarded with a Junior College All-American honor, in addition to a second selection All-Region IX Defensive Player of the year and all-league honors. Diarra shot a remarkable .596 (252-423) from the field in final season, ranking No. 48 nationally among NJCAA leaders.
“Moustapha had a tremendous two-year career at Sheridan before moving on to the University of San Francisco,” Sheridan College head coach Steve Smiley said. “He was a blessing for our program as we transitioned into a new coaching staff between his freshman & sophomore years. Moustapha helped lead us through that transition and had a great sophomore year, being named as an NJCAA All-American and helping to lead his team to a 26-win season and a spot in the Region 9 Final Four. We’re very proud of his accomplishments at the University of San Francisco and now as he gets an opportunity to play basketball at the highest level. Moose is not only a great basketball player, but is also a great person, and will hopefully play for many years in the professional ranks.”
Diarra turned in a strong senior campaign for the USF Dons, averaging 7.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. An excellent low post scorer, Diarra ranked seventh among West Coast Conference field goal percentage leaders converting on .498 (111-223) from the field.
“I have really enjoyed playing in the United States,” Diarra said. “It was a really good experience to be in another country on my own; I learned a lot of things during my 4 years in America. The time playing at Sheridan has really prepared me well to play professionally, I learned to play the game harder and have endured many tough challenges along the way.”
Pau-Orthez is one of the top clubs in France and plays in Pro A (top division). The club owns a league-best seven Pro A Championships. The Pro A season starts in September and runs through May. Some other notable NBA players that have competed with Pau-Orthez Club are Boris Diaw, Mickael Pietrus, Mustafa Shakur, and Gheorghe Mureşan.