Rawane Ndiaye signs with Tennessee

Rawane Ndiaye

Rawane Ndiaye

As Indian Hills (Iowa) Community College coach Barret Peery said earlier this week, “It’s hard to find an available big body this time of year.”

When the Tennessee men’s basketball team decided it needed one of those big bodies two months ago, it turned its attention to Indian Hills.

UT assistant Tracy Webster identified Rawane “Pops” Ndiaye (pronounced Rah-wan-e N-jie), a 6-foot-10, 270-pound center, as a possible fit. A scholarship offer was made. An official visit was had.

Late Thursday afternoon, Ndiaye made it official. He filed his National Letter of Intent with the Vols to become the fifth man in coach Cuonzo Martin crowded five-man 2013 recruiting class.

“What I like is he’s a big body with a good feel for the game and he knows who he is,” Martin told the News Sentinel. “He can score around the rim, but only when the opportunity presents itself.”

Missing three months of the past season at Indian Hills with a foot injury, Ndiaye averaged 2.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game in 13 games. According to Peery, Ndiaye selected the Vols over interest from LSU, Auburn and Texas Christian.

Ndiaye’s Letter of Intent, coupled with that of Blackman High School point guard Darius Thompson on Wednesday, pushes the 2013-14 UT roster to 15 scholarship players. The NCAA allows only 13.

“It’s obvious the fact that there has to be some transition,” Martin said.

One scholarship could be freed up by rising junior Jarnell Stokes, who is considering entering the NBA draft. The 6-foot-8, 270-pound forward has until April 28, the NBA’s entry deadline, to decide.

“It (the wait for Stokes’ decision) could possible go to April 28th,” Martin said. “He could go. He could not. It’s hard to say right now.”

The coach added that UT’s scholarship number will “figure itself out,” adding that the addition of Ndiaye was necessary to address potential frontcourt depth issues.

“Whether you have guys going to the draft or guys possibly going in a different direction, you have to be ready at all times,” Martin said.

Asked about Ndiaye’s statistical output at Indian Hills, Martin said, “We don’t need Pops to come in and give us 15, 20 points a game. We need him to come in here, make those layups around the rim, defend, and do the things necessary for the team to be successful.”

In his final season as Missouri State coach more than two years ago, Martin first saw Ndiaye as a high school player at Body of Christ Academy. He was not recruiting the prospect, but recognized the name when it came back across his desk years later.

Ndiaye originally committed to Western Carolina out of high school, but never enrolled, instead landing at Indian Hills. Prior to his time at Body of Christ Academy, he lived in Dallas after spending years in the Republic of Senegal in West Africa, his parents’ native country.

Ndiaye was born in New York City and grew up in The Bronx.

“This is a guy who can help us,” Martin said.

In addition to Ndiaye and Thompson, UT’s 2013 recruiting class includes Dyer County guard Robert Hubbs III, Buford (Ga.) High combo forward A.J. Davis, and Huntington (W.Va.) Prep point guard Travon Landry in the early signing period.

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn

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Comments » 27

volfan2002 writes:

I sure hope Stokes does not leave what a blow that will be to Tennessee hopes for a great year next season.

MikeInTN writes:

For Coach Martin's sake I hope "this is a guy that can help us."!!!

Razor784 writes:

"He can score around the rim, but only when the opportunity presents itself" Sounds like he can dunk if there's nobody in his way.

SouthPaVol writes:

It appears to me that Martin is sayin' something like, "The tail don't wag the dog." If two players declare, the last minute I might add, that they are getting an NBA eval, then Martin signs two more players. Makes sense to me.

These guys are young men and making career decisions for their life. Martin, on the other hand, is being paid to be the UT college coach. He has to be prepared for the situation that both of these guys can still declare for the draft and go pro--even McRae--until the 28th.

Take care of the Vols, CCM, and let these "young adults" do what they must. Go Vols!

thevoice writes:

I know who I am. Can I play?

OwensboroVol writes:

"He can score around the rim"! Then why didn't he? 2.5 points a game and 3.5 rebounds a game. I know there were some kids in Tennessee who could match or exceed that production. This is a wasted scholarship and you can take that to the bank. This kid will never see any playing time. We need to start looking for a new coach now!

underthehill writes:

Didn't know Stokes had until the 28th..I did check the mock drafts and did not see his name anywhere..

John_10065 writes:

in response to OwensboroVol:

"He can score around the rim"! Then why didn't he? 2.5 points a game and 3.5 rebounds a game. I know there were some kids in Tennessee who could match or exceed that production. This is a wasted scholarship and you can take that to the bank. This kid will never see any playing time. We need to start looking for a new coach now!

One word...Boerwinkle.

utvols420 writes:

I can tell you right now....Maymon isn't going to play basketball ever again. So there is one scholarship freed up.

chipmurphy461 writes:

This is ridiculous, Stokes was outplayed by lesser "talented" player's in numerous games last season. I really hope someone is explaining to Stokes the dramatic increase in career longevity and potential earnings that awaits him if he plays at least one more college season. Whoever is telling him that he's ready is doing him a horrible disservice.

oldster writes:

This smacks of desperation. Martin is grasping at straws. Stokes may go pro and Maymon may not play again. However, if either of those scenarios come to pass, much less both, UT and Martin are well and truly screwed and this guy will not help unscrew them.

eduardo writes:

this is getting old real fast! This guy is selling us a bill of goods that just isnt going to hold up! We have seen fantastic bball and this is not it!

chipmurphy461 writes:

http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-mock-...

For your own sake Stokes, you should stay.

crmcm44#321757 writes:

At least Ndiaye won't be a one and done. The fact that Ndiaye was not dominating at a lesser level doesn't bode well for UT fans. Desperation move.

keepitreal4vols writes:

1st Brian Williams now Pops....UT has a big man pipeline into the Bronx.

Orangeblood13 writes:

pops and landry average about 5pts and 4rbs combined....if stokes stays or goes, how do either of these guys help

Martin is on borrowed time looks like

maciste54 writes:

What's with the Maymon comments. You guys know something we don't? I have a staph infection in my leg. Don't know about Maymon but that shouldn't prevent a return if it's being treated correctly. That's assuming that's the problem. If it's a structural problem then that's another tale.

Ironcity writes:

in response to maciste54:

What's with the Maymon comments. You guys know something we don't? I have a staph infection in my leg. Don't know about Maymon but that shouldn't prevent a return if it's being treated correctly. That's assuming that's the problem. If it's a structural problem then that's another tale.

Don't read the junk that comes from this board. Everyone likes to act like they know something. Maymann will more then likely play. I think this move may be more related to the fact that Yemi just isn't good enough to play at this level and I guess Martin thinks Pops is. I hope he is right because we need a little bit of depth in the front court for sure. I would be curious to know how this guy played his freshmen year at JC.

Snapshot writes:

in response to Razor784:

"He can score around the rim, but only when the opportunity presents itself" Sounds like he can dunk if there's nobody in his way.

Not exactly a ringing endorsement is it?

samvol writes:

Stokes needs to go, one more year and no tourny will not look good for him. JMO.

1vavolfan writes:

After next season, Pops will be our only post player. Another stellar recruiting job by Martin. Next year may be ok but after that it will look like the Wade Houston era, without Allan.

RememberWhen writes:

I"ve seen this guy play the last three years. There is a reason Western Carolina was the best offer he had out of high school and there is a reason he had nearly non-existent numbers 2 years later for an average juco team - he can't play! CCM recruiting has gone from bad to awful in three short years. The good news is he will soon be following "his guys" out the door! Dave Hart needs to put an end to this mess before it becomes a complete renovation project. This staff is terrible at talent evaluation, incompetent as recruiters, and far too willing to take guys that have no ability to play in the SEC. CCM this is THE University of Tennessee - not some mid-major wannabe school that has to take whatever falls in our lap! Understand and perform as such or get the hell out!

johnlg00 writes:

in response to John_10065:

One word...Boerwinkle.

Hard to say if you meant to "damn with faint praise", but do remember that, as unpromising as Boerwinkle was coming in--and believe me, I saw that first-hand--he was a MONSTER going out, the hub of an SEC champion team who went on to play 10 or so very productive years in the NBA. If that is what you meant by that example, just take my comment as reinforcement of yours.

johnlg00 writes:

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying Ndiaye will turn out to be another Boerwinkle. I don't think Ndiaye was real high on Martin's recruiting board a month ago. I do think this was something of a "desperation" signing. It would seem that there was a growing awareness that Makanjuola either wasn't happy or wasn't progressing the way Martin hoped. Either way, it would seem that an urgent need arose for another big body, and Ndiaye was the only one available this late. The idea that Stokes might go pro probably also had some bearing on that, even though many people think he isn't "ready" yet. It may yet be some time before we know what Maymon's true situation is.

I just don't think anybody should think that Martin is real high on Ndiaye because he doesn't know any better or doesn't WANT any better players. The guy may be another Boerwinkle or he may be another Makanjuola. He IS another big body for whoever is left to practice against. It's still much too early to see how all this will shake out, but be assured that MANY programs face unexpected developments like this from one season to another, and it is just not possible to anticipate all of them.

John_10065 writes:

in response to johnlg00:

Hard to say if you meant to "damn with faint praise", but do remember that, as unpromising as Boerwinkle was coming in--and believe me, I saw that first-hand--he was a MONSTER going out, the hub of an SEC champion team who went on to play 10 or so very productive years in the NBA. If that is what you meant by that example, just take my comment as reinforcement of yours.

All I am saying is that stats lie and talent can be developed.

Every player Martin recruits will be picked apart by the Pearl lovers on this board but there might be something to this kid that Martin sees and we haven't yet. Just like Boerwinkle.

johnlg00 writes:

in response to John_10065:

All I am saying is that stats lie and talent can be developed.

Every player Martin recruits will be picked apart by the Pearl lovers on this board but there might be something to this kid that Martin sees and we haven't yet. Just like Boerwinkle.

Glad I read you right. Your comment was too short to judge your context, and as you say there are plenty on here eager to tear Martin up at any opportunity. How better to do that than by continually downing his recruits before they have a chance to develop.

kees8#419281 writes:

THE EXPERTISE ON THIS BOARD IS OVERWHELMING....TO SAY THE LEAST.

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