Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 10/4/13
The Cavaliers’ news conference to introduce center DeSagana Diop to the Cleveland media in June 2001 was one for the ages. Then-coach John Lucas went around the room giving people high-fives for their steal in the draft at No. 8 overall. Lucas boldly predicted the 7-foot 300-pounder would be an All-Star in two years. Once the microphone made its way to the Oak Hill Academy product the bravado continued. Diop said he couldn’t wait to dunk on Shaquille O’Neal then the best center in the league. It was quite a scene. But those nervy predictions proved to be nothing more than bluster. In four seasons with the Cavs from 2001-02 to 2004-05 he never averaged more than 2.3 points and 3.6 rebounds. “We were having fun (at the news conference)” Diop said on Thursday at Cleveland Clinic Courts. “Everyone who is drafted they say they want to be the best.” Diop is back with the Cavs. He has a non-guaranteed make-good contract. The team has bulked up at center with the uncertainty surrounding Andrew Bynum’s knees. There are scenarios in which Diop could make the team. As Cavs general manager Chris Grant said on media day “Big guys are hard to find.” Diop’s agent Leon Rose arranged for his client to work out for the Cavs the week before camp. They were impressed enough to invite him to camp. “It’s been eight years since I left (Cleveland)” Diop said. “It’s weird coming back. I never thought I’d be back playing for the Cavs again.” During his first stint with the Cavs he was constantly on the injured list. He came to the Cavs in a walking boot after breaking his foot at Oak Hill Academy in Mouth of Wilson Va. “I weighed about 330” Diop said. “Every year I was here I got hurt. Then I hurt my knee. I never got a chance to be healthy.”
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