When Idrissa Diallo landed in the Bay Area last weekend, there was plenty to be excited about.
Despite having toured several schools unofficially, the trip was Diallo's first official visit. And with California scheduled to host a public scrimmage on Saturday, it was also an opportunity for the athletic big to catch one of the conference's youngest and most talented teams.
But the real anticipation was getting to see his parents, a reunion made possible by a recent NCAA provision allowing college programs to foot the travel bill.
"I hadn't seen them in 2 1/2 years," Diallo, a native of Senegal, told GoldenBearReport, "so that was the best part."
Of course, getting to better know the players and coaches wasn't far behind, and bonding with Cal's touted group of freshmen left a particularly lasting impression.
"It was awesome," said Diallo. "I went out on Friday and Saturday night with those guys It was cool to see how close all the freshmen are to one another and how they interact with everyone in the dorms. Even if you don't know someone, you can just go right up and talk to them."
Among Cal's first year players, the Cathedral senior and protege of noted basketball producer Will Middlebrooks, developed an especially strong bond with Roger Moute a Bidias.
But there was plenty of family time, too, and Saturday morning afforded the chance to trek into San Francisco for a bit of shopping.
"Yeah, that was fun," remarked the 6-11 Diallo. "We went to Union Square and got to get some souvenirs for my family back home."
A trip to Oregon is still likely to take place, but with mom and dad's stamp of approval and a bond forged with Cal's young nucleus, the Golden Bears know they've set the bar high.