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Posted On: 06/25/18 12:55 PM
As soon as Grand View Christian’s Issa Samake got done with his 10 push-ups on Saturday, the 6’7 big-man had a nice laugh with his teammates.
It’s something he’s been doing this summer: whenever he air-balls a shot, he owes five push-ups after the game. He air-balled two (a 3, and a free-throw) in a win over Dallas Center Grimes — but he also made five 3s.
The charismatic Mali-born forward was showing off a new and improved stroke from deep, his five triples came from nine attempts. He’s adding that skill-set to extreme length and athletic prowess.
After seeing that raw ability and a what looks like a really high ceiling skill-set-wise, Drake went ahead and offered Samake last week. It didn’t take a lot of time for him to commit to the Bulldogs.
Samake committed on Sunday, just one week after impressing the coaching staff at the Drake Team Camp. And just one day after we caught up with him at the Grand View camp.
“Whenever I look at a college, I’m not looking at how nice the facility is and how nice the school is and things like that. I’m trying to look at how they’re going to use me, how they’re going to help me get better, and how am I going to help the team,” said Samake.
“If they’re going to welcome me and develop my game and stuff, then ya, that’s the school I want.”
Drake was the school that offered him those things. With a big July ahead, Samake stood to pick up several more offers, but according to his mentor Daniel Doyle, the Bulldogs were a “perfect fit.”
Samake chose the Bulldogs over an offer from Tulsa. Middle Tennessee State was calling, too.
Issa Samake is ranked by Prep Hoops as a top 10 prospect in his class. To see the full ranking of Iowa’s 2019 class, click here.
This summer, the new Drake commit will be playing with All Iowa Attack 17U. He’ll continue to hone his perimeter skill-set, and also work on building a relationship with Harouna Sissoko.
“All Iowa Attack has been working with me a lot, they’re not just focused on what you can do, but they try and develop you a lot. It’s been a good experience for me,” said Samake.
“I know what I’m best at and what I’m not best at, I’m really working on my 3-pointer and obviously I got better, but I’ve still got some work to do.”
Sissoko is a 6’6 small forward, also from Mali. He’s going to be joining Samake on Grand View Christian next season, where they’ll try and help the Thunder to a third-straight Class 1A title.
They wanted to work on their chemistry, so the two are playing on All Iowa Attack together, too.
“I never played with him before, but we knew each other in Mali. And next year we are going to be on the same team, so we wanted to play on All Iowa Attack together and start practicing together now,” said Samake. “I’m trying to build a strong relationship with him on the court.”
Expect Grand View Christian to break an all-time record for dunks in a season with the ultra-athletic 6’7 forwards playing side-by-side against small-school Iowa teams.