Ndiaye out, Nwankwo in as La Salle’s foreign student-athlete

Naveen Ganglani

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Ndiaye out, Nwankwo in as La Salle’s foreign student-athlete

RESIDENCY. Bright Nwankwo is completing his third trimester in La Salle to fulfill residency requirements.

Victoria Nwankwo's Facebook page

Bright Nwankwo is slated to make the La Salle Green Archers' final roster in early 2022

De La Salle University made a pivotal change to the lineup of its senior basketball varsity squad.

DLSU head coach Derrick Pumaren confirmed to Rappler on Monday, July 12, that foreign student-athlete recruit Amadou Ndiaye is no longer with the Green Archers’ program, and that his spot has been taken over by Nigerian recruit Bright Nwankwo.

Pumaren mentioned documentation issues as the main reason why Ndiaye is no longer with La Salle, although the veteran champion coach added that DLSU’s doors remain open for the 6-foot-11 Senegalese if he can produce the requirements.

However, it seems as if Ndiaye has already decided to play basketball abroad. According to a Spanish news outlet, he has signed with El Pinta Castell, a squad that plays in the Liga EBA, a fourth-tier division league in Spain’s basketball system.

Ndiaye recorded 12 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks in his debut game for DLSU in March 2020. Playing in the D-League Aspirants’ Cup, EcoOil-La Salle came out victorious in that contest against Wangs-Letran in one of the few games which took place before the season cancellation due to COVID-19.

Nwankwo, who is 20 years old, stands at 6-foot-9 but has a “lean and long” 7-foot-2 wingspan, said Pumaren, who compares the cager’s physical stature to that of Jerami Grant, a breakout performer for the Detroit Pistons this NBA season.

“He is a good rebounder, will block shots, is quick, and can cover areas,” Pumaren said.

Back in 2017, Nwankwo was part of Giants of Africa, a basketball camp by Toronto Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri.

Ndiaye out, Nwankwo in as La Salle’s foreign student-athlete

Nwankwo is currently set to complete his third trimester as a La Salle student. That will mark the completion of his mandatory one-year residency as a foreign recruit, which means he would be eligible to play for Pumaren’s final roster if UAAP basketball returns in early 2022 as anticipated.

Highlights of Nwankwo emphasize his height, length, athleticism, and agility, although his own head coach admits that the young talent still needs to develop skills and fundamentals to grow into the type of player the Green Archers will need him to be.

DLSU has been dealing with key changes since the pandemic started. Gone is veteran Aljun Melecio, who is now in the PBA, and possibly Justine Baltazar, who has received offers to play abroad, but could also still return for his final year of eligibility with La Salle.

The Green Archers are also welcoming new faces such as Evan Nelle, Raven Cortez, Mark Nonoy, Deo Cuajao, Deschon Winston, Kevin Quiambao, and Michael and Benjamin Phillips, while retaining holdovers such as Kurt Lojera, Joaqui Manuel, and Jordan Bartlett.

Pumaren was hired following La Salle’s 2019 campaign, their second straight year missing the Final Four. The head coach, who led DLSU to UAAP titles decades ago, aims to bring the Green Archers back to glory. – Rappler.com

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