Basketball player heads to D-1 university

Finish Strong—Babacar Thiombane rises to the rim in a loss to Santa Monica College 63-60 in the South Gym on March 2 during the second round of the SoCal Regional Playoffs. CN/Diego Linares

By Vincent Austin

Sophomore forward Babacar Thiombane received a full ride basketball scholarship to the University of Idaho where he will play NCAA Division I basketball.

The Thiombane family came from Senegal, West Africa, but Babacar is originally from Los Angeles.

Growing up in Los Angeles the first sport he played was soccer. In the seventh grade Thiombane started to play basketball at Le Conte Middle School and at the local parks near his home and school.

Thiombane played basketball to do great things for his family.

“Most importantly my mother, she’s the main reason I play,” Thiombane said.

He averaged nine points, seven rebounds and .9 steals a game.

In high school Thiombane played at Fairfax Senior High School, which is a school known for its basketball program.

Thiombane managed to play varsity basketball for three years, starting in his sophomore year.

With Thiombane  being a 6-foot-9-inch forward   earned a scholarship out of Fairfax High School to West Point University in New York City.

Thiombane got the scholarship to West Point, but decided to come back home to Los Angeles because West Point wanted all its students to go into the army after attending their institution.

Coming back and start over at a community college added         pressure for him.

“Definitely pressure, a lot of people watching to see my next move…had to stay focused,” Thiombane said.

Once he was back home, East Los Angeles College head basketball coach John Mosley recruited him.

Thiombane  knew that working harder and being patient with being a student athlete and all the responsibilities that comes along with it will pay off eventually.

ELAC assistant coach Kenneth Hunter said he impacted the team in the recent season.

“It has been a pleasure to coach (Thiombane). He’s the first guy in last guy out. He has a real basketball I.Q and he is super versatile, which is where his value is,” Hunter said.

“I knew I had to work harder and be patient playing at a junior college,”  Thiombane said.

Thiombane plans on majoring in business marketing at the University of Idaho.

Getting a degree is the first thing he came for on an educational level.

On the basketball court Thiombane dreamed to play and get paid for it in the NBA.

His idol is Lebron James because of how he carries himself on and off the court.

“He sponsored my high school, I appreciate that,” Thiombane said.

With Thiombane knowing that he will play on a higher level next season, he has an idea on what he will try to bring to Idaho’s basketball program.

“I’ll bring good talent,continue to be a hard worker and I’m going to be a positive player to be around,” Thiombane said.

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