On Tuesday, Chris Diasparra, a native of Mahopac, New York, realized his dream when he committed to play at The Citadel this fall.
"They had been recruiting me since my senior year of high school," said Diasparra. "The coaching staff was really great throughout the entire thing."
Diasparra, a 6-foot-2, 190 pound shooting guard, graduated as the all-time leading scorer at Mahopac High School, in Putnam County, and had attracted some Division I interest before heading to Bill Barton's program at Notre Dame. On a team stocked with Division I talent, Diasparra feels like he has emerged better prepared to handle the rigors of college basketball after the experience.
"I feel like I'm ready to step in and play at the college level right now, where as coming out of high school, I might not have been," said Diasparra. "Being around those types of players - we had 12 Division I players on the team - I think it's going to help me for the next level."
Originally, Diasparra was considering going to junior college this fall. Chris's father, Phil, who coached him with the Westchester Hawks for years, ran into a staff member from The Citadel at the AAU Nationals in Florida during July, and the coach reiterated that an offer was still on the table from the Southern Conference program.
"They hung with him for two years," said Phil Diasparra. "They must have been at six of our games two years ago out in Las Vegas and in Florida."
Phil Diasparra gave an idea of what the Citadel would be getting in his son - not just a shooter with range, but also a player with a sound understanding of the game.
"They took the time to see all of the little things he does that you might not notice if you're not looking for them," said Phil Diasparra. "He's a very fundamentally sound player. Yes, he can shoot it, but he also does all of the little things to help a team win."
The level of play also appealed to Diasparra. He was looking for an opportunity to play in a quality mid-major conference.
"It's a nice level," said Phil Diasparra. "The Southern Conference is a great league. And they're quite a team. They're getting better. The Southern Conference is an excellent league with great teams. It's pretty exciting."