Posted On: 05/8/18 12:52 PM
Abdou N’diaye took the less traditional and less popular route.
An under the radar 6-foot-10 stretch four with a wealth of upside, N’diaye chose an Illinois State program which had been in active pursuit from the very start. N’diaye’s decision ends a recruitment process which underwent a late surge involving programs such as UNLV, Ole Miss, Wichita State, and Georgetown.
N’diaye didn’t become enamored with a heavy hitter or tradition-rich program.
He based his decision on which school would give him the opportunity to have the quickest, most significant impact.
It’s natural for highly touted prospects to gravitate to nationally prominent programs.
The opportunity of playing in nationally televised games, before jam-packed crowds and vibrant fan bases is difficult to turn down.
You can’t deny the appeal of “greatness” and the draws of a storied program which has routinely churned out NBA players.
There is, however, a serious risk factor with becoming too infatuated with the highest caliber NCAA brand name.
There is the risk of never panning out as anticipated, ultimately falling out of favor.
There’s the risk of becoming riddled with bench splinters.
There’s the risk of being buried on the depth chart, entertaining painful reminders of what could have been.
In the end, N’diaye took a unique challenge.
Components factoring into N’diaye’s decisions were the Class of 2018 forward’s knot-tight relationship with Dan Muller and the team’s recent success.
The opportunity to play his style from the very start and emerge into a featured piece were equally appealing.
The system will enable the uber-versatile four to play inside-outside and let it fly from 18-feet out.
He won’t be forced to subscribe to a role that doesn’t suit him.
A blend of rim to rim mobility and a 3-point shooting aptitude makes N’Diaye translatable to the highest level of Division-I basketball in today’s game. With his high release point and the sheer mismatch issue he elicits in smaller defenders, the perimeter oriented N’Diaye poses an immediate challenge for defenders.
N’diane has shown an adeptness for guarding multiple positions, albeit he still needs to get stronger as a rim protector.
While N’diaye’s propensity for pulling frontline defenders away from the basket and sticking a feathery jumper with consistency is most noticeable, he’s incorporated an arsenal of post moves and developed increased footwork.
During his half semester stay at The Nation Prep, N’diaye catalyzed the program with averages of a team-best 27 points, 14 boards, and five blocks per game.
And while his body could use some tweaks and improvements, the integral ingredients were certainly there. N’Diaye possesses a 7-foot-3 wingspan and can transition smoothly to a souped-up, breakneck offense.
Few could have envisioned this decision. After garnering offers from Middle Tennessee State and BYU, N’diaye’s stock heightened during late March and early April.
Assistant coach Donnie Jones and Wichita State plunked down a scholarship offer. Then Ole Miss became sold on his multi-positional tool-set. Miami Heat legend Alonzo Mourning and Georgetown became involved, visiting the Port St. Lucie campus a few weeks ago.
Let’s face it. We live in a society where big announcements send everyone into a frenzy. Big names and big announcements earn you credibility and fanfare and maximized attention. Kids suddenly feel a sense of power and a sense of accomplishment at something as meaningless as an announcement on social media. It is instant gratification personified.
High-major programs hold the most juice along the recruiting landscape because they’ve sustained quality through the test of time, even during the woes of a dismal down year.
By choosing the system best suited for him and where he ultimately has the best chance to thrive, N’diaye circumvented popular thought. He’ll have the opportunity to carve his own niche.
Here’s a look at several other late-developing prospects who could have a significant impact at a mid-major program, should they continue to slip through the cracks recruiting wise.
Kai Jones, Orlando Christian Prep
The 6-foot-10 forward received a vote of confidence from Buffalo-bound teammate Ronaldo Segu in January, who projected the quick-footed big to “blow up this summer.” Segu’s words are proving prophetic thus far. Jones, out of the Bahamas, is a skilled big who runs the floor exceptionally well.
He’s got an evolving post up game and has shown a knack for scoring hustle points and securing boards. While he was considered rather raw once he arrived at OCP, Jones’ improvement over a quick period of time is certainly promising.
Kobe Okupu, St. John Paul II
The 6-foot-7 forward is a freak of nature physically and athletically. While he’s still evolving in the skill compartments of his game, he brings a level of unbridled energy. His role has been more defensively and on the glass for Team Auto Nation, where he’s flanked by high-flying Lee Flenor in the post. Playing around high level players has bolstered Okupu’s production rate and stock this off-season.
Chris Spenkuch, Norland
The high motored and energetic 6-foot-7, 190-pound wing has a game that’s similar to Providence-signee David Duke. Spenkuch is extremely effective off the dribble and can attack with the best of him. At the next level, however, the incorporation of a dependable 18-25 footer would really elevate his stock.
Cole Harshman, Scotland Campus Sports
With a crafty left handed scoring tool set, Harshman is a purified shot maker at the next level. He can stick deep 3-pointers and also get into the nooks and crannies of the interior and finish. Harshman has an advanced IQ and heady nature about himself on the court, an aspect which mirrors his composed nature during crunch time.
The Maryland native spent a year under fabled program builder Chris Chaney, playing against elite level competition and experiencing the competition the next level will bring.
Paul Garcia, Scotland Campus Sports
The 6-foot-3 guard is proficient at getting open and knocking down shots. He’s improved incrementally at finding his way to the rim and taking defenders off the bounce. Garcia has added some sneaky bounce to his game. He was a key catalyst for Scotland Campus Sports during the recent Battlegrounds tournament in Memphis, manufacturing timely buckets throughout the event.
DJ McQuarter, Believe Prep
The 6-foot-7 Class of 2018 prospect is a late bloomer. He’s got to get stronger and put some weight on, albeit he’s smooth and reliable in all components of his game. He’s got length and is comfortable putting the ball on the deck and finishing above the rim. He’s also developed a post game. He’s in the process of developing a 3-point shot while simultaneously making his mid-range game a central component of what he has to offer. The upside is intriguing.
Gary Robertson, Scotland Campus Sports
The 5-foot-8 guard may not pass the “eye test” so to speak, albeit he’s got a motor and brings a little swagger as well. Robertson has a consistent three-point shot and showed a knack for getting into the rim. He was fearless during a recent showcase event in Memphis, attacking the driving lanes and hitting heavily contested shots from beyond the arc.