Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Hoops News - More on our new additions.

So I'm traveling today up to Cowansville Quebec (outside Montreal) when all this stuff goes down and I get some calls letting me know I could "share" the info with you. Of course not much you can do on a Canadian highway. I did manage to get the bare minimum out. Here's more........

Ok, it appears that we have our two international mystery men now. Well, Paco Diaw wasn't exactly a mystery. His name had been floating around all summer. He's a guy who has scrimmaged with the players, and they thought Coach Hewitt should take a look at him. Obviously he liked what he saw. I am not about to speculate as to how these guys will contribute to the team, but I will share what I found out............So lets dig deeper into what we do know.....

First, both guys played for Senegal's national team - both an under-18 and under-20 team. Both are on campus, both have cleared admissions, both are now enrolled and starting classes........... However, I have no official confirmation that either has passed NCAA rules for actually playing on the team. However, you have to assume most of that is formality or they wouldn't be here. Height listings vary, but from first hand reports I got today, both guys are built fairly similarly - both are probably in the 6'6" - 6'8" range, and both are very thin. Think early-Luke years thin. Faye is probably slightly taller....................... So obviously this raises questions as to their real role on the team. Are these guys players or are they depth until their games develop further? How much of a project are they?

Papa Saliou Diaw - aka "Paco", 6'5" - 6'7" - (170 - 180lb)
Looks like an International Affairs major on his profile...........Not much from the recruiting sites - Rivals profile............. A Frenchman from Senegal, and HALF-brother of Boris Diaw, the Altanta Hawk who was just shipped out of town to the Phoenix Suns. Yes - half-brother. It's not important all the relationship details, but I did find out this about Boris's mother -she actually taught him a lot about the game of basketball. How? Well Boris's mother was Elisabeth Riffiod, a 6'2" center who played 13 years for the French national team and her jersey hangs in the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield Mass. Her teams won 7 French titles and 3 European championships. She could jump high, but couldn't dunk with her small hands and couldn't palm the ball because of a broken finger. Is this Paco's mom? Don't know. I also found that Boris's father, Issa, wasn't around a lot when he was a kid, and was a high jump champion. One thing is for sure, there are some athletic genes in Paco's family............. And actually, I believe there is a 3rd brother - Martin - who also plays hoops at Div II California University of Pennsylvania...................

I found this quote on Paco during his participation in the NBA Africa 100:

".......Papa Saliou Diaw, was here and showed great athleticism. He's 18 and can
jump out of the gym. He doesn't yet have, however, Boris' great feel for the

Here's an interesting interview with another player from Africa to give you an idea of life there.

Paco had been played high school ball at Greater Atlanta Adventist Academy. Not sure of the timing, but last year he played at Laurinburg Prep. in North Carolina, where guys like Charlie Scott and Sam Jones played back in the day. He also played at a school in Birmingham AL the year prior to GAAA.

Paco has been a fixture in the gym this summer, playing with the team in pick-up games and evidently faring well............ Reports are that he has good bounce to his step and has the makings of a good defender. Mixed reviews on the offensive side, so I'm hesitant to commnet................. Hard to find any credible stats though. I did find a game where he dropped 37 points / 8 assists against Covenant Marietta and 25 pts / 10 assists against Oakwood Academy from Huntsville AL. I found another game where he had 13 boards against Green Pastures (no, not Green Acres).

Mouhammad Faye: 6'7" - 6'8" - thin (170 - 190lb)
Looks like a management major............Mouhammad Faye is the real mystery guy. Nothing on the recruiting sites. No stats to be found (for free)......... Here he is on the Senegal Roster..............What I can tell you is that he just arrived on campus this week straight overseas and was admitted this week. I think he's a native of Dakar. For your geography lesson of the week (maybe year), Dakar is a pretty modern city of about 1.5 million people and a major port on Africa's western coast. The Faye brothers actually grew up watching a lot of NCAA hoops and Final Fours in Senegal. Brothers you say? Yes. Faye has a brother named Assane who played at U of New Hampshire. Actually, I think (unconfirmed) they have another older brother named Mohamed Niang, a 6'10" center who played at Delaware back in 1999. Not sure if he is a half-brother......... If they are brothers, then based on his info, his parents are agronomic engineers in Senegal. Again, no 100% confirmation.................... Mouhammad Faye was ranked the #3 junior in all of Africa years back and ranked as #7 on the "NBA potential" list at the "Africa without Borders" camp. Evidently he tried to get into the US last fall and was denied a VISA (crazy considering how they hand out credit cards these days.............. kidding......... hellooooo)..

Now, I found this blurb from a message board back in 9/2003 on Faye from a BC site:

Any word out there on Coach Cooley and Mouhammad Faye? Is he in the Cooley
pipeline for next year? Faye was signed, sealed, and just almost delivered to
Worcester Academy this year, but Paul Wesphal of Pepperdine caught him at the
airport and got him placed him at Malibu High - directly across the street from
Pepperdine. Faye is the real deal - #3 rated AAU athlete in all of Africa, 6-8,
nasty, and athletic. He also got through the WA admissions.

In addition, I found this article on an NBA-sponsored S.African top100 hoops camp back in 2003, where Faye participated. Here was a comment about him when discussing NBA potential:

When 6-7, 179-pound Mouhammad Faye of Senegal slides his razor-thin body
into the paint for a surprisingly tough rebound, NBA officials know they are the
ones who can teach the discipline and the basics that will lead Faye to the NBA.

Here's what Don Nelson had to say generally about the players at the camp:

"These are the rusty gems," says Donnie Nelson, Mavericks president of basketball operations. "There's so much potential here. But the talent is so underdeveloped."

The Mavericks director of scouting had this to say:

"We've got projects here, not prospects."

Of course these are NBA guys, so take that with a grain of salt. Anyhow, that's all I could find (for free). If I find more - you'll be the first to hear.....................