To the average person, the participants in the game of basketball are larger than life. Even on the high school level, players that make up the hoops team literally tower over the competition in other sports. But every so often, a true giant of the sport comes along that makes even the tallest players on any level marvel at the sheer size of certain players.
In the past we have seen a few NBA players like the 7’6 Shawn Bradley and Yao Ming use their monsterous size to get the best of their opponents, while future NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal may go down as being the most potent combination of size, strength, and girth, that we’ve ever seen in the Association.
Even on the high school level, Indian twin brothers Sim and Tanveer Bhullar stood a massive 7’5 and 7’2, and are now setting their sites on the college ranks with the older Sim earning freshman status with New Mexico State for the ’12-’13 season.
Fast forward to the Summer of 2012, and 7’5 rising senior and Sengalese native Mamadou Ndiaye has become the talk of the recruiting trail as the skilled big man has been dominating the competition at the Lebron James, Amare Stoudemire, and Deron Williams Skills Camps. Ndiaye isn’t just playing against average defenses but rather fellow Top 100 rated prospects like recent Florida commit Chris Walker and Class of 2014 star big man Cliff Alexander.
Just how big is Ndiaye? If his still growing 7’5 frame isn’t impressive enough, he has been measured as having an 8’1 inch wingspan and sports a size 19 1/2 size shoe. to put that into perspective, #1 overall Draft pick Anthony Davis, a prolific collegiate shot-blocker, was thought to have an impressive 7’4 wingspan.
Mamadou was brought to America in 2010 and enrolled at California’s Stoneridge Prep, coincidentally the former school of another international big man, former Kentucky recruit and NBA Lottery pick Enes Kanter. But it was quickly diagnosed that Ndiaye had a tumor on his pituitary gland, requiring surgery. After some anonymous donors helped fund the operation, the big man resumed the game of basketball, averaging a ridiculous 22.9 points, 13.2 rebounds and 4.7 blocks per game last season for Brethren Christian HS in California, even helping lead the Warriors to the Double Pump Spring Classic Championship in Vegas.
While he stands a good 2 inches taller than anyone currently playing in the NBA, the big man still has a ways to go when it comes to development as his skill set consists of a drop step, mini jump hook, one-handed dunk, and shot blocking skills where his feet barely leave the floor. But this Summer, Ndiaye has caught the eye of many college coaches as he took full advantage of an invite to the Lebron James Skills Academy, competing against the best HS prospects in the country.
Word is he once drew stares for choosing to work out at a 24 Hr Fitness in Cali, that is until a certain NBA superstar that stands nearly a foot shorter than Ndiaye chose to befriend the larger than life big man, partly because he was wearing the NBA star’s shoes. That player was none other than Kobe Bryant.
Check out 7’5 Mamadou Ndiaye at the Amare Skills Camp:
Allen Moll has been a lifelong NBA and NCAA College Basketball fan who watches and studies games religiously, and coaches youth basketball in his native Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania. Allen has also provided content to Bleacherreport.com, Upperdeckblog.com, Cleveland.com, CSN Philly.com, Buckets Magazine, in addition to being a tenured NBA and NCAA columnist for TheHoopDoctors.com.