Abdou Ndiaye playing basketball at Illinois State University

Vincent Alban, Photo Editor

Hailing from Senegal, former Masters student Abdou Ndiaye is currently continuing his basketball career playing at Illinois State University. Ndiaye is the first of his family to attend college, as well as attend boarding school in America.

Basketball propelled Ndiaye to America, where he played for Masters, The Nation Christian Academy, and now Illinois State University. The Nation Christian Academy is a private Christian high school and middle school located in Port Saint Lucie, Florida, where he graduated in 2018, after transferring from Masters.

While playing basketball at The Nation Christian Academy, Ndiaye received many offers and looks from top basketball colleges. These include his five favorite schools: Ole Miss, Wichita State University, Georgetown University, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Illinois State University. He gained interests from these colleges while averaging 27 points per game at The Nation Christian Academy.

Ndiaye said his thought process in choosing Illinois State University (ISU), a member of the Missouri Valley Conference, came from picking a school that would allow him to progress the most as a basketball player and also as a student. ISU’s main rival is Loyola University Chicago, a college that made it to the final four of the NCAA National Championship this past March. According to Ndiaye, it is better for him to attend school at a smaller Division I school rather than a larger and more prestigious basketball program in order to improve his game.

Currently in his first year at ISU, Ndiaye acts as a “red shirt” player meaning that he is not playing for his first year to focus more on academics as he pursues a business degree. Ndiaye still practices with the team and attends their games, but he does not yet play in games for the team. Ndiaye plans on graduating with a business degree in 2022.

Masters’ Athletic Director Kevin Versen noted that Masters had accepted Ndiaye through The SEED Academy, a program focused on educating Senegalese high school basketball players and sending them to high school in the United States. “Masters did a good job of giving him [Ndiaye] the discipline for the classes in college and the structure he needed. When attending school at Illinois State, Ndiaye can use that mindset he learned at Masters,” Versen said.

According to Boys Varsity Basketball Coach, Matthew Kammarath, senior Ugochukwu Kachikwu, who hails from Nigeria, and alumna Ramatoulaye Sy, a girl who came to Masters through the SEED Academy, both helped Ndiaye greatly in adjusting to living in the United States and attending school at Masters. “He found a warm and welcoming community here [at Masters], teachers went over and beyond to help him and he recognized that and was grateful for them,” Kammarath said.

According to Ndiaye, Masters was a home for him. While playing at Masters, Ndiaye averaged 17.4 points per game, 10 rebounds per game, and 3.3 blocks per game. Unfortunately, he was not allowed to play at Masters during his junior year due to the Fairchester Athletic Association (FAA) not allowing students to play if they have previously repeated grades. Ndiaye completed his 10th grade year in both Senegal and at Masters, making him ineligible.

The end goal for Ndiaye is to play professional basketball for a team in the National Basketball Association (NBA). According to Ndiaye, after two years of playing at ISU, he hopes to be drafted into the NBA. If not, he plans to start his own business after college with his degree. “Coming from Illinois State, he definitely has a shot at going onto play professionally, especially internationally,” Versen said. According to Versen, being in the Chicago area will allow Ndiaye marketability to potentially to play professionally as it is a city with a strong professional team.