Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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4 hours ago
Mamadou Doucoure Anxious to Help Rutgers Beginning in 2018
UNION, N.J. — Mamadou Doucoure plans to make an impact on the defensive end from the moment he steps on the Rutgers campus beginning in the 2018-19 season.
At 6-foot-9, the Mali native is a natural rebounder and shot-blocker who should help the Rutgers front line in the tough, physical Big Ten Conference.
But across the next year or so at Our Savior New American and with the PSA Cardinals AAU program, he wants to continue to develop his offensive game, which at the moment is still raw and developing.
“I’m trying to work on my foot speed up and down and my post moves,” Doucoure said after putting up 12 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks in a 52-45 loss to Rutgers target Paul Mulcahy and Gill St. Bernard’s on Saturday at the Metro Classic at Kean University.
Doucoure, who committed to Rutgers in December, flashed a little six-foot face-up jumper against Gill, and wants to continue to work on that aspect of his game.
“Yeah, that’s my game pretty much,” he said. “Sometimes it works, sometimes I’m losing it. [On Saturday] I was feeling it.”
Said Our Savior assistant coach Eric Jaklitsch: “He just needs to continue developing his offensive game and one of the reasons he chose Rutgers is because all those guys on staff have developed big guys on all different levels, all different schools. It’s a great conference for him, extremely physical conference, and that fits his game and his body type.”
For the season, Doucoure is averaging 11 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks, while shooting 67 percent from the field. He’s had five games with 15 or more rebounds.
“If you’re tough, you gotta go to the big conference to make name for yourself,” he said. “That’s why I choose Rutgers, to go there and make some name for myself.”
Still, his bread and butter is on the defensive end where he rebounds and blocks and alters shots, including the one above on Mulcahy.
“That’s pretty much my game, so that’s something I gotta bring every night,” he said.
Doucoure talks regularly with fellow Mali native Cheick Diallo, the one-and-done out of Kansas who’s now with the New Orleans Pelicans organization.
“Every night we talk and he tells me to get ready for the next level to go up and down,” he said. “To just improve my game, do not force anything, that’s what he tells me.”
Doucoure isn’t sure if he’ll attend any more Rutgers games this season, but would like to bring some of his PSA Cardinals along to college with him in 2018.
“Isaiah Mucius,” Doucoure said of the 6-7 PSA Cardinals small forward who holds offers from Rutgers, Xavier, Seton Hall, St. John’s and Wake Forest, among others. “I’m trying to make him come.”
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Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.