Abdou Ndiaye is a 6-foot-10 prospect with guard-like skills and has potential so great that Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall hopped on his private jet to fly to Port St. Lucie, Fla., for an in-home visit to Ndiaye on Wednesday, the final day college coaches can make such visits.
Ndiaye, who came to America less than a year ago from Senegal, has yet to be evaluated by a recruiting service. But his coach at The Nation Prep believes an update to those rankings would have Ndiaye a top-50 player for the class of 2018, and the offers pouring in this spring seem to legitimize Ndiaye's rise.
More than a dozen Division I programs have offered Ndiaye a scholarship this spring, but only three are guaranteed a visit, according to Mike Woodbury: Illinois State (Friday), UNLV (April 25-27), and Wichita State. Ndiaye is considering adding Ole Miss to the list, but Woodbury said WSU will get the last visit.
According to Woodbury, Marshall's meeting left a lasting impression with Ndiaye.
"The energy that Coach Marshall brings to any meeting is electric, it really is second to none," Woodbury said. "It really was amazing to listen to him and just his enthusiasm. Just the way he expresses how he feels about Wichita State basketball and the fan base and how they bleed black and yellow, you can tell he's a lifer. He's loyal and true to Wichita State basketball."
Ndiaye has only played basketball for three years, which means his game is raw. He's still learning the intricacies of the game and also the English language (his first language is French), but Woodbury said he has a bright mind and catches on quickly. It also helps that he has ability that can't be taught.
He only has 200 pounds packed on his 6-foot-10 frame, but he moves with the athleticism of a guard. He has a 7-3 wingspan, which allows him to guard any position on the floor. He also has great timing, which makes him a shot-blocking threat on defense.
Ndiaye has improved so much in Nation's structure in four months, Woodbury believes he will thrive in the right fit at the collegiate level. That's why Woodbury believes Ndiaye is "a future pro."
"You can use him in so many different ways, but we loved to use him as a pick-and-pop guy," Woodbury said. "We would have our point guard set a screen for him, which would give us a big-to-little switch, and he's able to capitalize on that. You can give him the ball 25 feet away from the basket and it's not a problem for him. He's a matchup nightmare because he can score at all three levels."
With all that potential, Ndiaye still has things to work on.
He's rail-thin at 200 pounds, which leaves him susceptible to being pushed around inside by older and stronger players. But entering a collegiate strength and conditioning program should help with that.
While Ndiaye's shooting stroke has improved significantly in four months at Nation, Woodbury says that's been the primary focus for him this spring. If he adds a consistent outside shot to his game, then Woodbury says his potential is limitless.
"In four months, he's already extended his range," Woodbury said. "His rhythm is good, his release is good, but it can get better and that's going to come with reps. The more reps this kid gets, the better he's going to get. That's why if he's willing to be that gym rat, the higher his ceiling is going to be."
Woodbury said Marshall was impressed when he was told Ndiaye was committed to being in the gym. He also sold Ndiaye on all the right things, according to Woodbury.
"Abdou wants a place where he can find family, school, loyalty, and commitment," Woodbury said. "That's exactly what coach Marshall offered us. He was super impressed. He wants to go into an environment where he can feel comfortable and feel like he can maximize his potential. Coach Marshall was quick to point out how many pros he's had, and that's awesome. He hit it off really well."
After Marshall made Ndiaye a priority on the last day to visit, Woodbury said it's no coincidence that Marshall will also get the final visit with Ndiaye. WSU currently has two remaining scholarships for its 2018 class.
"Shocker Nation will absolutely fall in love with this kid," Woodbury said. "He's exciting. He's athletic. He's fun to watch. He plays above the rim and he's a high-energy guy on both ends of the floor. They're going to absolutely love this kid."