UC-Irvine signs 7-foot-6 center Ndiaye

The UC-Irvine Anteaters signed the biggest prospect that will enter college basketball next season. Senegalese center Mamadou Ndiaye (Huntington Beach, Calif./Brethren Christian) inked with Russell Turner’s team during the first day of the signing period.

“Getting a seat on the team bus just got more difficult,” Turner said. Ndiaye is 7-foot-6 and weighs over 300 pounds. Turner, a former assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, saw the intrinsic value in Ndiaye.

“I’ve watched him a lot. He’s a legit prospect,” Turner said. “A lot of the high school evaluators don’t ever see a guy like this. When you’re in the NBA, you see some talents and projected possibilities. I’m really excited for what this kid can be. He’s not there yet, but he’s overwhelmingly big. And, he can guard the rim. There’s a restricted area we’re going to call “The Mamadou” and that’s where he’s going.”

Ranked No. 79 in the senior class, Ndiaye proved last summer at the NBA Camp and in various travel team settings that he’s more than a novelty item. For a man of his size, he has good touch and obviously dunks almost everything within a reasonable vicinity of the rim.

“We’re going to get him to guard the rim,” Turner said. “Offensively that’s what he’ll be focused on but he’s not just big, he’s big and he’s powerful. He can catch and he can finish. The great thing for me is having seen other big guys -- like Yao Ming as an example -- there are certain things you do with these big guys and certain things you know not to do.”