PSA pg 5 11-19-20

For Mohamed Sanogo, Nov. 12 brought a pretty incredible moment.
It was the day the Putnam Science Academy postgrad student signed his National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Florida International University. And it came only a few years after he started playing the game.
“It was always the dream to play college basketball at the highest level,” said Sanogo, who grew up playing soccer in Africa’s Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast). “When I started playing basketball when I was 13, 14 years old, did I think it was actually going to happen? I didn’t know. I just knew I had to keep working.
“Today is just a dream come true. I’m really thankful. I’m very happy.”
Sanogo, now 18, is still a work-in-progress, particularly on offense. But his defense is what makes him a prospect. Though lean at 6-foot, 9 inches and 200 pounds, Sanogo has sneaky strength and eye-popping athleticism. Possessed with explosive leaping ability, he is one of New England’s best shot blockers.
“The thing with Mo is that he is just scratching the surface,” said PSA coach Tom Espinosa. “He hasn’t been playing basketball very long, so he’s only just starting to see how good he can become.
“But his athleticism…he’s probably the second-best we’ve had here in terms of just athleticism. It’s him and (current NBA player) Hamidou Diallo, really. He’s fast, he just gets off the floor unbelievably, he really is just so athletic.”
In two games during this COVID-altered season, Sanogo has played key minutes as one of the Mustangs’ top reserves. He is averaging seven points, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Assuming play will resume sometime in late winter or early spring, Sanogo will have a chance to continue building up his game.
FIU, located in Miami, won 20 games two years ago in coach Jeremy Ballard’s first season, then followed that up by posting a 19-13 record last year, including 9-9 in Conference USA play.
“For me, what they’ve done the last two years, the success they’ve had, that really motivated me to go there,” Sanogo said. “I want to be part of a program that is going in the right direction and I can grow with. They’ve also shown that they can develop big men, so I felt like it was going to be the right place for me.
“And also, it’s Miami. It’s a beautiful place.”
Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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