Doucoure proving himself as high-major prospect

Mamadou DoucoureAt this point in time, Cheick Diallo is presumably in Lawrence, Kansas, preparing for the Jayhawks’ upcoming season which figures to be his only in college basketball before the NBA Draft comes calling.

At the same time, his fellow Our Savior New American (N.Y.) grad, Kassoum Yakwe, is determining whether to attend prep school or accept offers from one of the numerous high-major programs that would like to get him on campus this fall.

And again at the same time, Mamadou Doucoure, who looks like the next great Malian big man in the Our Savior pipeline, is showing off his skills at Elite Session 2.

Only a rising sophomore, Doucoure has already garnered scholarship offers from St. John’s, Pittsburgh, and UConn, just two years after he began playing basketball and a year and a half after moving to the United States. At Albright, he’s shown off his seemingly natural ability to rebound and protect the rim at 6-foot-9, but also has an advanced offensive skillset for someone with his lack of experience.

“First of all, it was my lay ups. I got my lay ups easy,” he said of what came first when he picked up the game. “That came to me first of all, then the second thing was my rebounds and outlet passes.

“That’s my specialty. I learned it in Africa before coming here,” he added in regards to his uncanny ability to throw Wes Unseld-esque outlet passes to streaking teammates on the other side of the court.

It’s no wonder that Doucoure is already at such an advanced state in his game, as he’s had plenty of time in high school to learn from his country-mates, Diallo and Yakwe; Yakwe is considered a top-100 recruit, while Diallo is a consensus five-star prospect who won MVP honors at both the McDonald’s All-American game and the Jordan Brand Classic.

“Everyday we help each other. They show me something I don’t know in basketball,” Doucoure said. “They know a lot that I don’t know because they’ve been here before me, especially Cheick. Cheick is one of the best players in the world right now.”

Doucoure has yet to travel back to his home country since moving to the United States, and therefore hasn’t seen his family in a year and a half.

Many would find that to be a miserable experience, but Doucoure considers himself fortunate for the opportunity to pursue his basketball goals against the best talent in the world.

“I still talk to [my family]. I just miss them. But my mom, I talk to her everyday on the phone, before games and after games. They’re all doing well,” he said. “I feel blessed. Every basketball player, they have the goal to play here to make the talent hop. So I just feel blessed.”

Doucoure has been one of the revelations of Elite 2 thus far, coming in somewhat unheralded but leaving as a consensus high-major prospect. As someone who moved across the globe in order to refine his game against better competition, he’s been impressed with what he’s seen in his time in Reading.

“It’s a good camp,” he said of his first Hoop Group experience. “Everybody is trying to show his talent, so I think it’s a good thing for us.”

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[…] and St. John’s, but will have many more coming his way. As Hoop Group’s Ari Rosenfeld wrote during camp, Doucouré showed an ability to protect the rim and rebound the ball. He was selected to the Top 20 […]