Throughout the summer, GoBonnies.com will feature interviews with members of the St. Bonaventure men's basketball team and their preparation for the 2017-18 season during off-season workouts. Our next Summer Session features newcomer Ndene Gueye.
ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. – One of the reasons hopes are high for the St. Bonaventure men's basketball team in 2017-18 is the amount of returning players from last year's squad that won 20 games for the second year in a row. Another reason for optimism is the influx of new talent as well – one of those being transfer Ndene Gueye.
A native of Senegal, Gueye came to the United States as part of the Sports for Education and Economic Development (SEED) Academy – the same program former Bonnies All-Atlantic 10 center Youssou Ndoye attended. Gueye, who stands 6-foot-10 and 210 pounds, spent the past two seasons at Kilgore College, a junior college in Longview, Texas.
Kilgore is another Bonaventure connection – Gueye will be the second player to join the Bonnies from that program, joining 2013 graduate Chris Johnson. Though the trip is a long one, Gueye already is familiar with New York State, attending Redemption Christian Academy in Troy.
You played for the Sports for Education and Economic Development (SEED) Academy which is where former Bonnies star Youssou Ndoye attended. Did you know Youssou and did he talk to you about coming to St. Bonaventure?
I had known him from high school. The year that he left was the year that I came there, 2011. He made a big impact in my decision to come here. I had several options, but I chose St. Bonaventure because it was best for me. I saw myself with this team and I liked how the coaches improved players, especially big guys. It was my biggest concern to come somewhere you could improve and learn. You can concentrate on your goals here.
Youssou really improved during his time here. Did his growth in the program really help make the decision to come to St. Bonaventure?
When I came here to visit I watched his highlight tape. His freshman year he was kind of skinny, but he improved a lot; put on a lot of weight and improved his basketball skills. (The Atlantic 10) is a physical league and I looked at where he started and where he ended up. I look at the progress he made and that really made me come here.
You had a few different options, what was the recruiting process like?
It was stressful sometimes. I had to limit my options. I had a chance to visit several players, then I sat down with my coach and told him I'm going to Bona because I see myself there the best.
How would you describe yourself on the court?
I have been watching the games on YouTube and know that they have a crazy crowd here. The way I play, I think they're going to like it because I give everything on the floor.
What has the learning curve been like so far?
It's been good, every day I try to learn new stuff. Working in the weight room, conditioning, basketball skills. Every day I try to improve myself. I had an injury after the season was done so right now I am trying to catch up on my conditioning. It has been very good for me and I have to keep getting better.
How did you get better as a player during your time in junior college?
I learned a lot. It was the best process for me to get to where I am now. I was recruited by St. Bonaventure in 2014, but I wasn't an A-10 player. I was too skinny. I had to go to JUCO and work. The next time they came down to see me, I had made a lot of improvement.
What are your goals for this season?
I'm trying to be the best player I am capable of being and to get my schoolwork done. The biggest thing right now, I'm trying to work on my game and on my strength. It is a very physical league.
Do you have a chance to see family at all and get back home?
I haven't been home since 2014. I have an aunt in Virginia, so I go there for a couple of weeks at a time. I'm used to it because I left home at 16 to go to academy. I talk to my family as much as I can. Every day I have been calling home. This has been a dream of mine for a long time.
Getting to know … Ndene Gueye
Favorite food: Rice and chicken
Hobbies: I like to go to a calm place and think about what I have to do to improve, to be a good person
Favorite music artist: I don't listen to music
Dream job: I want to work in a bank after getting my finance degree
If you could play another sport what would it be: I was a soccer player when I was young and started to play basketball five years ago. Soccer was my first love, but I was getting tall and my family told me to get on the basketball court.
Best advice you've received: My mom used to tell me to make sure to always do what you're supposed to do and act the right way no matter what.
If you could trade places for a day with one person it would be: My sister. She's in Germany and I would like to see what that's like. It's a place I would like to go one day.