Moussa Diabete holds the ball in two hands with his back to the Ohio State player who has their right arm up for defense.
Moussa Diabate declared for the NBA Draft while retaining his eligibility. Gabby Ceritano/Daily.  Buy this photo.

After a freshman season that revealed talent but also exposed inconsistency, Moussa Diabate is testing his future in the NBA.

On Monday, news broke that Diabate had entered his name in the NBA Draft while retaining his college eligibility, originally reported by Sports Illustrated staff writer Jeremy Woo.

The 6-foot-11 power forward — who began the season coming off the bench — quickly found his way into the starting lineup where he contributed 9.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game. He earned a spot on the All-Big Ten freshman team and recorded a season-high 28 points in a key win over Iowa on Feb. 17. 

“It’s been my dream to take my game to the next level,” Diabate said in a twitter announcement. “With that in mind, I feel now is the right time to explore the NBA Draft evaluation process.”

Diabate is the first Michigan player to declare for the draft; however, it remains unclear if freshman Caleb Houstan will follow in Diabate’s footsteps or return for his sophomore season. 

Both Diabate and Houstan have been scattered throughout mock drafts, Diabate being the most variable. Some projections have him going in the late first round, while others have him falling to the second round and numerous omit his name entirely. 

If Diabate is drafted, his exit would add to significant roster turnover for the Wolverines. They are already losing two starters in fifth-year guard Eli Brooks and graduate guard DeVante’ Jones, and if Diabate decides to remain in the NBA Draft, Michigan’s challenges would advance further. 

With sophomore center Hunter Dickinson’s decision to return next season, the Wolverines still have part of their frontcourt intact, but Diabate’s absence will be noticeable. 

Diabate has until June 1 to withdraw from the draft. Until then, Michigan’s eyes will be locked on his decision.