Gorgui Dieng (pronounced GOR-gee Jeng) says one of his personal goals at the University of Louisville is to win a national college basketball championship, and for the second year in a row, the tall center from Senegal has a great shot at lifting the trophy.
Dieng and the Cardinals of Louisville have once again advanced to The Final Four in the NCAA men’s championship tournament. They will play Wichita State on Saturday, April 6, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta. Michigan meets Syracuse in the other semifinal, with the two winners moving on to the national title game Monday, April 8.
Last year in the semifinals, Louisville lost to state rival Kentucky, 69-61. Kentucky then went on to beat Kansas, 67-59, for its eighth national title.
On Sunday, Dieng had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots, as top-seeded Louisville defeated Duke, 85-63, to book a ticket to Atlanta. Such performances have caught the eyes of National Basketball Association scouts.
Even though the 23-year-old Dieng has one year of eligibility remaining with Louisville, he’s expected to enter the 2013 NBA Draft, which will be held June 27th at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Scouts at one of the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders camps in South Africa first noticed Dieng when he was a teenager. Their support helped him move to a prep school in West Virginia, and from there, he has improved in each of his three seasons at Louisville.
With his size, strength and athleticism, Gorgui Dieng could be headed for a long professional career in the NBA. He also wants children in Senegal to see what basketball has done for him. “I want to go back home and give back,” says Dieng. “People helped me to get here to go to school and play basketball, I want to go back home and do the same thing for the kids.”
For now, though, Dieng is thinking of Saturday’s game against Wichita State. He knows Louisville is only two victories away from its third national title, and first since 1986.