who is Ousmane Dieng, the young French basketball player at the gates of the great North American league?

The sacred Golden State Warriors, placed at the last big deadline of the season in the NBA: the draft. During this annual evening, the league’s 30 franchises shape their future by choosing two young players to join their workforce. In turn, each team selects a basketball player from the American university system, the NCAA or foreign leagues. A predefined order favors the worst teams of the season. Organized on Thursday 23 June, the 2022 version will make your heart beat faster in France.

Four young Tricolor players thus become part of the list of 283 candidates selected by the NBA. In addition to Moussa Diabaté, Hugo Besson and Ismaël Kamagate, Ousmane Dieng remains the most likely to join the prestigious championship.

The young colossus of 2m08 is a pure product of the Insep (National Institute of Sport, Competence and Performance). After years of training at JSA Bordeaux, Dieng joined Pôle France in 2018 at the age of 15. He played for two years with the Federal Center in National 1 (the 3rd division), the basketball club that brings together the players of the Insep. He also won the silver medal at Euro 2019 under 16 with France, alongside Victor Wembanyama, another particularly promising Bleuet who plays for Asvel.

Last year, Dieng flew to Auckland, New Zealand to complete his lineup with the New Zealand Breakers, a team attached to the Australian league. Incredible destination? Not much. He became the first European to take advantage of the program “NBL Next Stars “which aims at attract foreign talent by coaching them for a season before introducing them to the NBA draft.

Leader in an outside body, Ousmane Dieng finished the season convincingly with an average of 8.9 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game. “Playing in a difficult league with very good players was very advantageous for me “, he explained to ESPN [article en anglais].I learned a lot. The transition was important, in front of much better players than I have seen in France. The game is faster. Everyone is more physical. “

The 19-year-old is now expected at New York’s Barclays Center around 8pm (2am in France). Sixty players will be recruited into the NBA, but only the top 20 are called to sit in the media “green room“(the” green room “). In this place, young talents (eg. “green”, green, not yet mature), accompanied by their family and their agent, take their seats at the foot of the stage where Adam Silver, the president of the league, shakes hands with selected players. Broadcast live, the event is followed by fans from all over the world.

In an article [en anglais] Published on its website on June 16, the American television channel ESPN claimed on June 16 that Ousmane Dieng would be part of this elite. For a young basketball player, such a call-up bodes well for entering the NBA through the front door. The more a player is enrolled in the top positions, the greater his chances of being part of a squad where he will have time to play the following season.

Before Dieng, other French people, such as Joakim Noah (2007) or Frank Ntilikina (2017), were among the lucky ones. In 2020, Killian Hayes was called to seventh by the Detroit Pistons, the Habs with the highest points in the draft. However, he had not been able to join the “green room“In the midst of the Covid-19 epidemic, the ceremony took place via videoconference.

In this year 2022, which should be made up mostly of very athletic players, his versatile winger profile capable of scoring and leading the game makes him a player with great potential. Mike Schmitz, ESPN’s drafting specialist, was full of praise for the French during an interview with Dieng:I think what’s really unique about you is your passing quality, the way you control the ball despite your height. “

“I see you as the next Nicolas Batum.”

Mike Schmitz, editorial specialist for ESPN

Most of the American specialists have included Ousmane Dieng in the list of the top 20 called up. These are the forecasts made by journalists close to the top of the NBA teams (the “insiders”), strongly influence the final result. In the most optimistic scenarios, like that of Jeremy Woo of the American media Sports Illustrated [contenu en anglais]the outsider even reached 9th position. He could therefore be selected by the San Antonio Spurs, who have the ninth pick this year. The Habs he would later follow in the footsteps of a certain Tony Parker.

Jeff Garcia, a local San Antonio reporter, once interviewed Ousmane Dieng forward French legend. “He replied that Tony Parker was the best French player of all time and that he had followed him a lot during the finals [NBA]”, she tweeted. However, according to the young prospect,”there was no contact between him and Spurs during the selection process“.

Ousmane Dieng could join other Frenchmen on the NBA courts. According to ESPN (article in English)the Oklahoma Thunder, where the “French“Théo Madelon and Jaylen Hoard, would be interested in the native’s profile Villeneuve-sur-Lot (Lot-et-Garonne).

At the gates of the NBA, the talented Frenchman has ample room for improvement. Some recruiters even find it still too light to fit into the “big league”. Others think he will have to improve at long range shooting to weigh in on offense. This year, Ousmane Dieng made 27% of his 3-point shots, far from the NBA average of 35% on hot shots. Either way, everyone agrees that the franchise that will select Ousmane Dieng will make a good bet on the future.

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