PSA pg 5 11-18-21


Dioubate by Khoi Ton

Nine months ago, Mouhamed Dioubate was essentially lost when he stepped out onto the basketball court at Putnam Science Academy.
He joined the Prep basketball team midway through its season after playing two years at John Bowne High School in Queens, N.Y., and was just so far behind the 8-ball that coach Tom Espinosa wasn’t comfortable putting him in the game for long stretches or in key moments, or even at all as he had six DNPs.
“People don’t realize it until they go through it, but it’s such a huge adjustment going from public school basketball to prep school basketball in New England,” Espinosa said recently. “It’s night and day. And it takes every kid – and I’m talking Hamidou Diallo, Hassan Diarra, all the guys who have been here multiple years – that first year is just such a big adjustment. Mouhamed got thrown in the fire last year in January and…it was really just a learning experience for him.”
Fast forward to the start of this season and Dioubate, a 6-foot, 7-inch, 215-pound forward, has been one of PSA’s best players, logging double-doubles in two of the last four games. He looks and acts like a completely different player.
“It felt different this year when I got onto campus,” Dioubate said last week after posting his second straight double-double. “I worked on my game all summer, worked on my body, everything. So I definitely felt different, I felt better. My confidence is up too, of course. When you work on something a lot, at some point you’re going to feel that way and just know that you can do what you you’ve been working on.
“Coming from public school basketball is just different. I came here and played against better players, bigger people. I had to catch up to a lot of stuff. The competition level is just so different. But I know what to expect and what I needed to do to be better.”
The numbers speak for themselves. In 13 games last year, he grabbed 38 rebounds; through six games this season, he’s got 46. He scored 48 points in those 13 games; he has 61 already this year.
“He’s playing with so much confidence,” Espinosa said. “He and I talked the other day and I told him we’re going to put him at his strengths. Around the rim, around the free throw line, just go get it. He’s playing with confidence and he’s playing hard. That’s what we tell our guys, just go out there and play as hard as you can. And Mouhamed Dioubate, every time he’s on the floor right now, he’s playing as hard as he can.”
Said Dioubate: “If they told me to play any position, I’ll play any position, any time. I feel like I’m capable, it doesn’t matter 1-5. I feel like I can play various positions and be versatile. I just go get the job done.”
The Mustangs went 4-0 last week, topping Notre Dame Prep 116-53 on Nov. 9, Rocktop Academy 131-88 Nov. 11, Lincoln Prep 85-57 Nov. 13, and Redemption Christian Academy 113-59 Nov. 14.
Against Notre Dame Prep, Dioubate recorded his first career double-double at PSA, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Barry Evans had 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three blocks, and two steals, Arturo Dean had 13 points and six assists.
Dean had 21 points, seven assists, and seven steals against Rocktop, while Dioubate had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Taiga Jones continued to shoot it well, knocking down three more 3-pointers on his way to 11 points.
Dean was the high-man again against Lincoln, finishing with 18 points and six steals. Josh Rivera added 11 points, and Claude 10.
Dioubate and Duane Thompson had 14 apiece Nov. 14 (Dioubate with eight more rebounds), Darryl Simmons had 13 points and five assists, both had 12 points.
By Stephen Nalbandian
Sports Information Director
Putnam Science Academy


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