The big news in the FIBA World Cup — besides Spain’s domination of a very good Brazil team, turning them into the hometown favorites after America’s sloppy performance against Turkey — has been the play of ‘Wolves center Gorgui Dieng for surprising Senegal. The African nation sits at 2-1 in pool play after upsetting Croatia yesterday, 77-75.
Dieng was a late-season find for the ‘Wolves in the frontcourt. His 36-minute averages last year (12.6 points, 13.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 2.2 blocks) have to make Wolves fans excited, despite his positional overlap with Nikola Pekovic and Pek’s five-year, $60 million contract he signed last summer. Even in limited court time, Dieng found time to nail a game-winner after bobbling the ball, and record a 22-point, 21-rebound game against the Rockets in March.
At FIBA play in Spain, Dieng dropped a game-high 27 on Croatia and added eight rebounds. After three games of pool play, Dieng has the highest scoring efficiency in the tournament, he’s fourth in points per game, second in rebounds per game, sixth in blocks per game, and in the top 25 for steals. In a word, he’s an all-around beast for the African nation of over 13 million people. Here he is leading Senegal to the stunning win over Croatia in Group B play:
Against Puerto Rico in their second game, he reminded fellow ‘Wolves teammate J.J. Barea layups don’t come easily against this Senegal team:
Dieng is 6-11, but he’s a lot more offensively skilled than you might believe for a relatively unknown 24-year-old out of the Kébémer Department in Senegal.
It’s not clear whether Dieng’s FIBA play will affect his time with a revamped ‘Wolves squad missing Kevin Love, but inheriting Thaddeus Young, but the injury-plagued Pekovic will always needs a backup, we’re just not sure Dieng’s still a backup after witnessing him so far in the World Cup this summer.
(video via HighlightsCourt)
Does Dieng get more playing time next season?
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