All Roads Lead to Spain: Team Focus - SENEGAL

The 2014 FIBA World Cup of Basketball is closing in. After 36 years, a Filipino team is once again among the teams participating, and Pinoy hoop nuts the world over eagerly await how Gilas Pililipinas will fare against the world's best basketball talents.

In this five-part series, I will give a preview of what to expect from each team Gilas will face in Group B. In this particular post, we'll focus on the third placers from Afrobasket 2013, Senegal.

The Lions of Senegal celebrate after beating Ivory Coast in Afrobasket 2013.
(image from AfricaTopSports.com)

(Senegal pool as of August 20, 2014)
Position
Name
Age
Height
Club
PG
Louis Adams
24
6’1
South Carolina State
PG
Xane Dalmeida
31
6’0
Tarbes-Lourdes
PG/SG
Mamadou Ndoye
34
6’3
Univ. of Gaston Berger Saint-Louis
PG/SG
Thierno Niang
24
6’1
Univ. of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
SF
Mouhamet Diop
33
6’6
UGB
SF
El Hadji Ndiaye
27
6’5
Tapaces Gabe
PF
Abdou Badji
22
6’9
Neuchatel
PF
Mouhammad Faye
28
6’10
Panelefsiniakos
PF
Maurice Ndour
22
6’9
Ohio University
PF/SF
Maleye Ndoye
34
6’8
Paris-Levallois
PF
Djibril Thiam
28
6’10
Sitra Club
PF
Ibrahima Thomas
27
6’11
Al Sadd
C
Gorgui Dieng
24
6’11
Minnesota Timberwolves
C
Hamady Ndiaye
27
7’0
Delaware 86ers
C
Mouhamed Sene
28
6’11
Antibes Sharks

Notes:
  • For a lot of Pinoy hoop nuts, the most familiar name on this list will be young Minnesota Timberwolves center Gorgui Dieng. He wasn’t part of this team when it placed third in the 2013 Afrobasket, but he will surely be there in Spain. In a recent tune-up game against no less than the World Cup hosts, Dieng tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Lions lost, 49-88. Despite that sorry result, look for the 6’11 24-year-old to be a focal point of coach Cheik Sarr’s system moving forward.
Minnesota's Gorgui Dieng is going to be the main draw of Senegal.
(image from Star Tribune)
  • Senegal hasn’t released its final dozen yet, but I surmise that the shoo-ins will include Mouhammad Faye, Mouhamed Sene, and the two Ndoyes — Maleye and Mamadou. Along with them will probably be US NCAA Division 1 players Louis Adams of South Carolina State, Maurice Ndour of Ohio University, and Thierno Niang of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
  • Of those mentioned, the most intriguing are Faye and Maleye Ndoye. Because Dieng will probably take up much of the playing time at center, Sene’s role will be reduced somewhat, but Faye at the 4 should be a good complement to Dieng. Maleye Ndoye, meanwhile, will be the team’s best bet at a threat from the wings. He led Senegal in scoring, steals, FG%, and three-pointers made in Afrobasket 2013. Not surprisingly, he was named Best Forward of the tournament. 
Versatile forward Maleye Ndoye is bound to give Gilas a lot of problems.
(image from FIBA)

How does Gilas match up?
  • At the onset, we’ll have trouble matching up with Senegal in terms of length and athleticism. Andray Blatche and Japeth Aguilar can match-up quite well, but things will get tough when guys like Ranidel De Ocampo, Marc Pingris, and June Mar Fajardo take the floor. Needless to say, Gorgui Dieng, Mouhammad Faye, and Maleye Ndoye will make life hard up front for Gilas.
OKC's Serge Ibaka battles for the rebound agains MIN's Gorgui Dieng
in a tune-up game that Spain handily won.
(image from Spain 2014 blog)
  • Conversely, Blatche will be tough to guard for Senegal. Because Blatche mainly plays from the perimeter, it’s possible he’ll drag someone like Dieng or Sene out of the paint, and this could potentially mean driving lanes will be open for our guards. As of this writing, though, we might not even be able to exploit this due to the possible absence of Jayson Castro, who went down against the Euskadi-Basque team with a possible Achilles tendon tear.
  • As will be the case with all our games, outside shooting will be a significant barometer of success. Jeff Chan, Gary David, Jimmy Alapag, and Gabe Norwood will all need to be on-target for Gilas to have the advantage against the Senegalese. Defensively, our backcourt can match up relatively well in terms of size, although all of the Lions’ guards can also shoot well from long range.
  • Overall, Gilas, as long as the guys are healthy and shoot well, should still have the advantage, thanks mainly to the presence of Blatche.


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5 Comment
avatar

Aftr all the grind and video reviews and countless sacrifices and practices i still cant fathom the fact that our main offensive tactic is solely based on a one on one move. Pathetic coaching to say the least

Balas
avatar

all said and done. its still a 20+ losing effort. veteran world cupper vs. rookie world cupper

Balas
avatar

The Dribble Drive Motion Offense rely so much on individual skills such as quickness and the ability to slash and breakdown the defender. Frankly, we don't have any choice but to utilize the only advantage we can think of which is speed. Yeah I know I know how come speed is our strength if we are not trying to run around them in the first place. That's the baffling thing about it. Even myself personally don't get it. LOL

But anyways, going back to the iso plays, what I can say is another question: how can you run your sets if the opposing team plays you one-on-one themselves? I don't think they will give away 3s by going on a zone defense since Gilas is relatively small team player by player. They don't need to zone up on defense if they can handle us individually. So what do we do? DDO.

On the defensive aspect, I would strongly suggest using a 1-3-1 zone defense instead. Like a cross, 4 of our guys will not leave the extended FT line area at all cost. Everyone will be active to slide down from one end to another to contest shots and we can box them up for the rebounds and the most important thing in our system -- clogging the passing lanes & deflecting inside-outside passes. I think that would work.

Balas