NBL Young Gun Focus – Ousmane Dieng

THE National Basketball League (NBL) has announced itself as a successful pathway for young basketball talents to take their journey to the next level. With quality talent spread across the league making for a tough competition, many young players see this as an opportunity to prove their worth against a more experienced league than the NCAA or other similar leagues.

The NBL has even developed a Next Star program, where the brightest young talents from around the globe are recognized and given the proper training and facilities to assist their development. In the past, this program has delivered international stars such as Lamelo Ball, RJ Hampton and Joshua Giddey.

Thanks to the success of these players, the door has been opened for even more of the world’s most exciting youngsters to join the program, before potentially joining the NBA in the future.

One of the players taking advantage of the Next Stars program is Ousmane Dieng, who is about to enter his debut season in the league. He became the first European player to join the program, as he brings his talents from France to the land down under.

Dieng was born in Lot-et-Garnone in France, while his father pursued a basketball career of his own. Given this connection, Dieng formed a strong love for the sport, and began developing a journey of his own, which began with a strong career as a youngster.

Dieng’s junior career began at Villeneuve Basket Club, where he gained valuable experience and exposure as a part of the club’s youth program. His stint at the organisation ended when he moved to JSA Bordeaux, which has hosted NBA players such as Boris Diaw in the past.

As his game progressed with age, Dieng attended the highly respected National Institute of Sport, Expertise, and Performance (INSEP), which had developed the likes of Diaw, Tony Parker and Clint Capela in the past, making it arguably the most sought-after ticket in France.

Dieng played for the institute’s under-18 team at the Next Generation Tournament, which is contested by the best teams from around Europe in that age category. This is often where Europe’s finest young talents take the opportunity to showcase their talents to scouts and the rest of the world, which is exactly what the youngster was able to do.

In the 2020-21 season, Dieng announced himself as one of the nation’s brightest young talents with averages of 12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game for the INSAP’s affiliated team in Centre Fédéral. It was during this tournament when the hype truly began to build.

Following recruitment from not only some of the best NCAA teams, but also the NBA’s G-League Ignite team, Dieng opted to head to Australia, where he signed with the New Zealand Breakers in the NBL, through the Next Stars program as he looks to make his way towards greener pastures.

Projected as a potential top-10 pick in next year’s NBA draft, Dieng is known as a skilled playmaker, and at 6ft 9in, has the potential to use his size as a mismatch on opponents, with a wingspan of over seven feet. Likely to play as a guard, Dieng’s smooth moving skills with the ball in hands are likely to be in his favour this year as he looks to boost his draft stock during his season in the NBL.

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