Former DePaul video coordinator accepts assistant coaching job at CCSU


Credit: DePaul Athletics

On Dec. 6, 2017, Central Connecticut State head basketball coach Donyell Marshall watched his Blue Devil boys bow out 85-57 against the DePaul Blue Demons at Wintrust Arena.

Between bouts of nostalgia from coaching against his former college coach Dave Leitao, Marshall must have been impressed with the game plan the Blue Demons put together against his team that night. Seven months later, that cold Wednesday night in December comes full circle as the CCSU basketball program announced Thursday the hiring of now former DePaul basketball video coordinator, Baba Diallo,

who was instrumental in developing scouting reports and game plans for the Blue Demons last season, as its newest assistant coach.

“Baba brings a world of knowledge and recruiting connections to our program having worked under great coaches like Danny Manning (Tulsa), Frank Haith (Tulsa), and Leitao,” Marshall said via a press release from the CCSU athletic department. “As a staff, we were looking to add a coach who wanted to be here and help us continue to build on what we’re doing at CCSU. Baba is eager to be a part of the program and the Blue Devil family and we can’t wait to have him join us on the sidelines and start working with our players.”

Diallo, who is a native of Dakar, Senegal, spent two seasons at Tulsa University as a graduate manager working with Leitao (who was an assistant coach for the Golden Hurricane at the time) after he graduated from Baker University in Baldwin City, Kan. in 2013. Diallo followed his superior to the Windy City, joining Leitao’s staff as the assistant director of basketball operations in July 2015. He was promoted to the video coordinator position before last season.

For Diallo, this assistant coach designation is his most prestigious title yet in his young coaching career and he’s excited to get started.

“I am very blessed and excited to be here and have the opportunity to work with the Blue Devils program,” Diallo said via a press release from CCSU. “I’ve been fortunate to work with programs and coaches who have also been mentors to me. My trusted mentors in coach Leitao and coach Manning have said nothing but great things about how good of a person and a respected coach Donyell is. When this opportunity came about, it was a no brainer for me. It’s a tremendous opportunity to learn from and work with such a leader. I’m extremely excited for the direction of the program and can’t wait to get started.”

Marshall has concrete connections with two out of the three head coaches that Diallo has worked for during his coaching career. During the 2000-2001 season, Marshall and Danny Manning (former Tulsa head coach) both played for a 53-win Utah Jazz team. The connection with Leitao runs even deeper: Leitao was an assistant coach at the University of Connecticut tasked with developing star player Marshall in 1994. The two men coached together for the Maine Red Claws of the NBA G League during the 2011-2012 season.

“I love him dearly and it doesn’t make me feel any better, other than winning games, to beat somebody that I care that much about,” Leitao said about Marshall when the two squared off  last December at Wintrust Arena. “I’m as big of a fan of him as you can possibly be.”

With another one of his guys carving out a legacy for himself out east at CCSU, Leitao will be on nostalgia overload watch if the two teams battle again.