Colorado high school basketball stars Baye Fall and Assane Diop will join a new team this fall as two of the nation’s most wanted recruits.
The elite pair of Class of 2024 prospects enrolled in Denver-based Accelerated Schools, a non-traditional private program that has been serving individualized program needs since 1974, according to its website. Fall and Diop will play for Accelerated Prep, powered by Accelerated Schools, in 2022-23. The freshman team will compete in national invitational tournaments and the Grind Session — a non-CHSAA national prep basketball circuit — while players will take accelerated courses toward NCAA eligibility.
“We can individualize the program for each student,” said Michelle Tuengel, executive director of Accelerated Schools. “We have a lot of flexibility, which is great if children have to miss school, whether for social, medical, mental or sporting reasons. We can adapt it around them. … It has become a very good choice for these types of students.
Fall is a five-star recruit considered the No. 12 overall prospect nationally in his class, according to 247 Sports’ composite rankings, with scholarship offers from all blue bloods in college basketball. Diop is a four-star freshman, the 80th overall prospect in the nation, who recently narrowed his roster to eight schools: Arizona State, Arkansas, Auburn, BYU, Colorado, Ohio State, Kansas State and Seton Hall.
Fall and Diop are longtime AAU teammates with the Colorado Hawks. They won the CHSAA State Championships in 2020 for Lutheran (3A) and Belleview Christian (1A), respectively. Fall and Diop joined the Grind Session last year with Denver Prep Academy, however, each player left the team in February. DPA has since sold its gymnasium and will not have registration next fall.
Longtime Colorado Hawks manager Greg Willis is a co-founder of Accelerated Prep along with Jonathan Barnett, CEO and President of Oxi Fresh Carpet Cleaning. Willis and Barnett previously worked together on DPA’s leadership team.
“The accelerated schools loved the kids and they thought it would be a great opportunity because they didn’t have an athletics program,” said Willis, whose family hosts Fall and Diop, both from Senegal. “It was such a great relationship. We came to an agreement that it would be a good fit for all of us.
Accelerated Prep are in the early stages of team development with three confirmed players – 2024 playmaker Mikey Lewis (formerly of DPA), Fall and Diop – with a target of 11 players in total. Head training candidates and gym locations are still under review, Willis said. Accelerated preparation practices are scheduled to begin in September.
“We’ll have a strong squad,” Willis said. “We have to recruit kids by position and who plays. I think the mistake a lot of teams make is to over-sign the best players. You have to have good players, of course, but that’s also how they fit into the team concept. Character is first.
Fall and Diop have been turning heads all summer with impressive performances at the AAU National Showcases. Fall – a 6-foot-10, 205-pound forward – won Pangos All-American Camp (PAAC) Top 30 MVP and was also the top scorer and rebounder in the NBPA Top 100 Camp. Diop – a 6-foot-10, 190-pound winger – was the PAAC Top-60 Game MVP.