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.
UConn completes Fab 5 recruiting class with athletic big man Youssouf Singare
By ADAM ZAGORIA
UConn already has one athletic big man from Mali.
Now Dan Hurley’s program is adding a second.
A phone conversation this week with his fellow Malian Adama Sanogo helped convince 6-foot-11, 210-pound Youssouf Singare of Our Saviour Lutheran in The Bronx and the New Heights Lightning AAU program to commit to the Huskies and help form a new “Fab 5” recruiting class. He also considered Seton Hall and Providence, which he visited over the summer.
“Next fall I will be playing college basketball with UConn,” Singare, 19, told ZAGSBLOG in a phone interview ahead of his public announcement.
He credited Hurley and associate head coach Kimani Young with recruiting him, and said the conversation with Sanogo, a favorite for Big East Preseason Player of the Year honors, also weighed heavily in his decision.
“Yeah, Sanogo is my guy, he’s my guy,” Singare said. “He’s my brother. He told me UConn is a great school, if you come here you’re going to have every opportunity you want to succeed, man. He told me that and he told me to work hard.”
UConn sophomore forward Samson Johnson is also from the African nation of Togo.
“He speaks French, so we had a little conversation, too,” Singare said.
Singare joins a star-studded UConn recruiting haul that also includes point guard Solo Ball, shooting guards Stephon Castle and Jayden Ross and small forward Jaylin Stewart, who announced his commitment to UConn on Thursday.. All five players were on campus last weekend.
“We’re going to do something great together because all those guys, they’re really good, they got talent,” he said. “Together we can do something great, really great.”
Asked about trying to contend for the progam’s fifth NCAA championship, he said, “Hell yeah, that’s the goal, man. That’s the main goal.”
In Singare, UConn is getting an athletic rim-running big man who can block shots on one end and finish on the other.
“He is a super athletic player who runs the floor like a deer,” Our Saviour coach Peter Wehye said. “However, that is not his best quality. His defensive ability is amazing. He’s able to guard multiple positions and protect the rim.”
Said Lightning director Shandue McNeil: “Youssouf is the best rim protector ever to wear a Lightning uniform.”
Singare prides himself on his leadership.
“What I bring to the court is pure leadership, man,” he said. “And the way I protect the rim, I take high pride. And I run the floor as fast as any guard. I can guard the pick-and-roll, too.”
He said he continues to work on his offense.
“This summer I spent all this summer to work on my offense so my offense gets better,” he said.
Singare came to the U.S. from Mali on Nov. 11, 2019 after getting discovered in Bamako, Mali.
“I started playing basketball in 2017 and ’18,” he said, before mentioning a coach who helped him learn the game. “The coach really treated me like his own son so he showed me everything.”
He came on a scholarship to Bella Vista Prep in Arizona and then ended up in The Bronx.
His ultimate goal is to play in the NBA.
“That’s my goal, is to get to the NBA, and stay in the NBA, too,” he said. “I want to go and have a really long career.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
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.