NBA would be a waste for Gorgui Dieng

Gorgui-Dieng-UofLCardGameGorgui Dieng has said more than once that his primary objective at the University of Louisville is getting a college degree.

The sheepskin is what his Mom and Dad want, too, first and foremost. Presumably within four years after enrollment and before he would even consider professional basketball.

Now we get word, however, that Coach Rick Pitino wants Gorgui, along with Chane Behanan and Russ Smith, to submit to the NBA draft to see where they stand. If they don’t get drafted, they will get some valuable feedback on what which parts of their game need work.

Fine with Behanan and Smith. They would go pro in a New York minute, no second thoughts. Their lives revolve around basketball. Pitino says Gorgui’s age might be a concern for NBA teams wanting to develop his talents.

Dieng, we believe, may have higher aspirations than playing in the NBA. Dieng is 23 years old, born January 18, 1990 in Kebemer, Senegal on the west coast of Africa. During press conferences, he has talked about the values of his father, about how nothing worthwhile comes easy, and wanting to return home to help his fellow countrymen.

He may make some ungodly money in the NBA, but it’s difficult to embrace the idea of Gorgui Dieng wasting away on an  NBA bench night after night, hoping for a few minutes of playing time.

He could be sending money home and might even turn out to be a decent player in the pros some day. But the rigors of professional basketball would take a toll on the learning curve while depriving him of daily interaction with others similarly inclined. We’d prefer to see him in an academic atmosphere for at least another year, continuing to prepare himself for a leadership role when he returns home.

Author: Charlie Springer

Charlie Springer is a former Louisville editor and sportswriter, as well as a public affairs consultant, a UofL grad and longtime fan.

5 thoughts on “NBA would be a waste for Gorgui Dieng”

  1. I love your blog, but couldn’t disagree more on this topic. Gourgui is a really smart guy and has aspirations to play in the NBA. Apparently he will graduate this Spring, so he’ll have his degree before he starts playing in the NBA. These kids only have a short window (2-3 years for most, more for some) and I think he should make the most out of it. You know he’ll represent UofL well and create a great reputation.

    I really think he will be a good NBA player. Think about the improvement he’s made in 3 years here without basketball being a full time job.

  2. Couple of thoughts.
    First, is Gorgui learning anything basketball-wise right now? In other words, is he improving his game, learning offensive and defensive moves that will make him a better player in the pros?
    Secondly, is the reason for his recent ‘slump’ solely due to too much playing time?
    This fan says NO to both questions. I think I see frustration in Gorgui’s face and demeanor with the current team situation, especially as he is a highly intelligent and disciplined individual–which pretty much makes him odd man out on this group, especially with the guards.
    For these reasons, I see Gorgui taking a long look at the pros after this season, and providing some pro team with an excellent upcoming big man. And I wish him well! Go Cards!

    1. Thought you would be a degree-first guy, John, especially with Gorgui saying that’s what’s most important to him. The money aside, the NBA wouldn’t be a learning experience for him. I think he has much to offer in other fields of endeavor.

  3. I know he wants to help the people of Senegal and I think that is so much more important than playing basketball but the people of Senegal will still need his help in ten years. Think about how much bigger an impact he could make with 50-70 million dollars behind him. Look at what Manute Bol did in the Sudan. He saved lives. Yes, the Sudan is still all f*cked up but that just supports my point even more. The problems that face Central African countries aren’t going away anytime soon.

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