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Louisville Center Gorgui Dieng Could Leave Early for the NBA

Gorgui Dieng

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Louisville Cardinals are sitting pretty well right now as everyone is gearing up for March Madness. The Cardinals are the number eight team in the country and with their latest victory over Cincinnati, the team has earned a bye into the Big East quarterfinals. After being ousted by the eventual national champions, Kentucky Wildcats, in last year’s Final Four the Cardinals are looking for a return trip.

Louisville is stacked with talent and they might have enough to get back to the Final Four, but for one player this season could be his last trip to the NCAA tournament. It is speculated that center Gorgui Dieng could opt out of his senior year and head to the NBA draft come June of 2013. Dieng is having a great junior season with the Cardinals as he is averaging career highs in points (9.9 PPG) and rebounds (10.1 RPG).

Dieng feels that his draft stock will be high enough that he will be selected in the first round of the 2013 NBA draft. It makes sense for Dieng to head for the draft considering that he has improved every year since his freshman season. NBA scouts will look at Dieng’s growth as a positive and depending on his play in the tournament his draft stock could sky rocket.

Dieng has not made it official that he will declare for the NBA draft, but his coach, Rick Pitino is all but certain he will go. Pitino said that he is “98 percent” certain that Dieng will declare for the NBA draft. Furthermore, Pitino is so certain that Dieng will leave that he plans on including him in the senior-day festivities.

Dieng surely could help any NBA team with his 6’11” 245 pound frame. The Senegal native is an excellent shot-blocker and plays good defense overall. I would not be surprised if Dieng was taken in the first round because athletic seven-footers don’t just grow on trees.

Alejandro Aviles is a writer for Rant Sports and regular NCAAB contributor @aaviles312