Mamadi Diakite’s hair has been a source of great speculation throughout March Madness. The UVA player, who originally hails from Conakry, Guinea, currently has blonde hair.
To The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Diakite explained that his hair was the result of a car ride with his girlfriend. He said,
“I was in the car with my girlfriend, and she was going to get her hair dyed.” I have done it before when I played soccer. I told her I wanted to do it. She said, ‘Are you sure you want to do this because your coach and family will be mad and yelling at you?’ I told her, ‘I’m going to do it. if they don’t like it, I’ll just go bald, probably.'”
He added, “First it was just a different look I wanted. People have told me to keep it because they can notice me. All right cool. I’m going to do it.”
Diakite’s coach, Tony Bennett, addressed the hair with a simple answer. To The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bennett said, “If it’s like Samson, and he’s got to do it, so be it. It looks better in person than on TV.”
Meanwhile, Diakite’s mother isn’t so supportive of the new look. To NBC29, Diakite said, “The first words she said was, ‘What have you done to yourself?’ after I sent her a picture of myself. I told her, ‘Oh that’s the new look here, in America,’ and she said, ‘Oh really? Ok, no more B.S.’ I said, ‘Ok, cool.’”
Here’s what you need to know:
Diakite Has Been Described as the UVA’s ‘X-Factor’ by Coach Tony Bennett
Since he made the basket that sent UVA into overtime against Purdue and, ultimately, into the Final Four, Diakite has become something of an overnight sensation — but Bennett maintains he knew of Diakite’s power long before that moment. To The Richmond Times-Dispatch, Bennett said, “From the start of the year, I’ve said he’s the X-factor for us, and the way he’s played in the tournament has been significant.”
Per Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Diakite told reporters that his game-changing shot has launched him into a kind of stardom he hasn’t experienced before. He said, “I’m trying to come in and sit and work and I want to learn and people are standing. It was a little weird.”
Back home in Guinea, it’s an even bigger deal. Diakite said,
In Guinea, my family and some old teammates told me, (his shot is) all over Africa. The news is talking about it. It’s a great thing to come to the Final Four. It’s an honor to them. … My cousins told me if I ever go back there, the whole population would welcome me home, which is very amazing.