Maurice Ndour slams one home in Senegal's 82-75 win over Puerto Rico in the 2014 FIBA World Cup (image courtesy FIBA)

Senegal's Maurice Ndour takes different way to college, World Cup

Most of Senegal’s top talents in the basketball world go through the highly-acclaimed Seeds Academy in Dakar on their way to their bright futures. Maurice Ndour, however, took a slightly different path from Senegal to college in the United States and now to the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup: namely via Japan.

Japan is hardly known for creating a lot of high level players, but Ndour spent two years of high school in Okayama while some of his countrymen were attending Seeds or a high school in the United States.

“That was an opportunity for me to get out of Senegal and live my dream, which is basketball,” said Ndour at the World Cup, where he is a high-energy guy off the bench with a top game thus far saw him collect eight points, two rebounds and steals blocks against Puerto Rico.

The 22-year-old Ndour speaks five languages (English, French, Japanese and Senegalese tribal tongues Wolof and Serer) and attended upstate New York junior college Monroe College before transferring to Ohio University, where he will be a senior this upcoming season.

But when the Sindia native arrived in the United States he was surprised that so many of the student athletes around him took things for granted.

“I came a long way. I’m not going to come here and just go through the motions. You always have to be the hardest worker on the court and off the court, which means going to classes and getting your education right. I’m trying to not take anything for granted,” Ndour told the Buffalo News.

Ndour, whose father was the first English-speaking anchor in Senegal and mother was a secretary who worked for the government, is definitely one of the hardest workers at the World Cup when you consider combined efforts on and off the court in Spain.

While Senegal players have been celebrating their historic two straight victories at the FIBA World Cup – the nation had totaled two wins in their previous three World Championships combined – Ndour didn’t have much time for that as he was hitting the books. Studying Information Technology, Ndour is busy taking six online classes while at Spain 2014.

Yep, World Cup and studying for classes like “Computer Science”, “Women in Leadership” and “History of Film”.

“It’s kind of hard. Right now I’m taking six classes online. I have to focus on my classes and at the same time focus on the World Cup. But I can say that I’m used to it,” said Ndour who is averaging 4.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 0.7 blocks after three games.

Ndour said he really enjoys living in the United States, mainly because of the opportunity it gives to a lot of student-athletes.

“I can be myself over there. I’m just me over there. It’s kind of a freedom country. You can push your dream. If you work hard, you’ll get it,” said Ndour.

Without a doubt, he’s working hard in Spain.

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Tags: FIBA World Cup Maurice Ndour Ohio University Bobcats Senegal

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