From Manhattan, NY, to Manhattan, KS: The story of Cartier Diarra

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The K-State 6'4" guard Cartier Diarra takes a quick break in between plays to plan the next move. Diarra scored 9 points and had 7 rebounds during Saturday's game against Texas Tech. (Alex Todd | Collegian Media Group)

There are two separate lives that redshirt freshman Cartier Diarra lives.

The first, a Kansas State men’s basketball rising star who currently starts for the Wildcats and is averaging seven points per game.

Then there is a second life that his mom calls “a fat boy living in a skinny person’s body.” That is the one you are reading about today.

If you see Diarra, you might think the singer The Weeknd just walked past you because of the crazy hair he sports.

“I used to have short hair actually, but once I came here I dread-ed it,” he said. “People don’t know that at one point I had it like champagne; it was practically white.”

He proclaims to be a homebody who always orders takeout when he gets food.

“If I’m not in the gym or playing basketball, I like to be at home watching The Amazing World of Gumball or Naruto,” Diarra said. “I’m not a real going out kind of person, so I like to be at home and in my bed.”

A cartoon addict, Diarra will occasionally watch college basketball, but mainly because that is what his life is revolved around most of the time.

“I’ll watch some NBA, but mostly college,” he said. “If I’m not watching those two things, it’s definitely cartoons.”

He compares his skills on the court to NBA point guard Rajon Rondo because that is who he watched growing up.

“I’ve always tried to model his game and had a desire to play like him,” Diarra said with a smirk. “He gets his teammates involved, and that’s what I like about him.”

Now let’s get back to who Diarra is off the court.

Basketball takes up a lot of his time, but when Diarra does get time to cook himself a good meal, he succeeds.

“I’m not going to say I’m not a good cook,” he said. “I don’t cook a lot, but my mom is an amazing chef and she’s taught me how to do it. I just don’t most of the time.”

His mom will get to see him play at the season finale inside Bramlage Coliseum against Baylor on March 3.

“Some friends and family have been able to make a few games, and when they do, it means a lot,” he said.

Before basketball, Diarra had different ambitions in life, and now he focuses on improving his game.

“When I started playing basketball, my thoughts kind of changed, and I thought to myself that I could be in the NBA,” he said. “That’s what I look forward to now, and my goal is still that.”

Diarra said some people say he is a good dancer and singer.

“I’m pretty shy when it comes to singing, but the people who have heard me say I’m not bad,” he said.

The boy from Manhattan, New York, has made The Little Apple his home for now, but his heart still lies in The Big Apple.

“There’s nothing like Manhattan, New York,” he said. “It is amazing, but I love where I’m at right now, and this is a great city. I couldn’t ask for more, playing basketball at the highest level and in this great place.”

Diarra will continue his freshman season as he and the Wildcats will travel south to take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater, Oklahoma, on Wednesday at 6 p.m.

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