7’6″ Mamadou Ndiaye Of UC Irvine Could Become Tallest Player In NBA
BY: John “Hennry” Harris
UC Irvine junior Mamadou Ndiaye, 22, has declared himself eligible for the NBA draft.
Why is this news?
Ndiaye, a native of Senegal, is 7’6″ and could become the tallest player in the NBA.
Ndiaye has submitted his paperwork, but reports indicate that he will not hire an agent immediately so that he can keep the option open of returning to UC Irvine to play college basketball.
If you haven’t heard of Mamadou Ndiaye, you are not alone. DraftExpress ranks Ndiaye as only the No. 30 junior prospect, but they also note that “with an unprecedented 8’1 wingspan, Ndiaye is simply the longest specimen to ever play in the NCAA according to our database.”
University of Central Florida center Tacko Fall and Mamadou Ndiaye were both listed as the tallest players in NCAA Division I basketball in 2015-16.
In the past, being a 7’6″ prospect was almost a slam dunk, which Ndiaye can do without jumping, in regards to being drafted.
However, the recent trend of playing small ball, a style of play that uses a lineup without a true center sacrificing height, physical strength and play in the low post for a lineup featuring smaller players with more speed, agility and better shooting.
Current NBA champions Golden State Warriors have utilized the small ball philosophy best as the lead the NBA with a record of 71-9 on the cusp of matching the 1996 Chicago Bulls for the best record ever in the league.
It will be interesting to see how Ndiaye fares in the draft, but there has also been an evolution in the size and skill-sets of younger players in the NBA and in high school.
For example, Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo is 6’11” and is making the transition to playing point guard full time. 7′ high school phenom Thon Maker looks to challenge the NBA’s draft eligibility rules as he has declared himself eligible for the draft and has the ability to play guard as well.
With that being said, it is definitely going to be more than Ndiaye’s height to determine whether or not he will be drafted.
Is he fast and quick enough to run the court in a faster more athletic NBA?
That is what must be determined.
Below are some highlights of Mamadou Ndiaye as well as a video featuring Ndiaye 7’6″ facing off against Tacko Fall also 7’6″:
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