French winger Ousmane Dieng (2.08m, 19 years old) is promised the heights of the 2022 draft, organized on the night of Thursday to Friday. A real physical phenomenon endowed with a rare technical background for his size, the former resident of the Federal Center is also praised for his human qualities and his foolproof mind.
“Paul George”; a “modern and 2.08m version of Antoine Rigaudeau”; a player “who must be inspired by Brandon Ingram or Kevin Durant”. The comparisons used by those who rubbed shoulders with Ousmane Dieng closely are enough to understand the extent of the French phenomenon, when the latter knocked on the door of the NBA. On the night of Thursday to Friday, the young 19-year-old winger, trained at the Federal Center and left to make his mark in the Australian championship last season (8.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 1 assist in 20.4 minutes ), should, except unlikely surprise, be the first Habs called during the annual high mass that is the draft.
The native of Lot-et-Garonne, born in 2003, is panicking the scouts of the best league in the world and his rating has been climbing for several weeks. A few hours before the ceremony, seeing him become the fourth Frenchman in history drafted in the top 10 (Noah in 2007, Ntilikina in 2017 and Hayes in 2020) is not incongruous. In the latest predictions, the famous mock drafts, he oscillates between 9th and 12th place, which would send him to the San Antonio Spurs or the Oklahoma City Thunder. Beyond these forecasts, all observers agree on one point: the young Habs have almost unlimited potential.
A winger’s shot, a full-back’s technique and a playmaker’s vision
Ousmane Dieng is quite simply an outside player in an inside body. 2.08m under the fathom, the shooting of a winger, the technique of a fullback and the vision of a leader. “Ousmane is unique because of the combination of his skills and his size,” said Mody Maor, coach of the New Zealand Breakers (he was an assistant last season), which Dieng joined last summer to continue his progress after a course at Insep. “His offensive game is that of a real guard. He can really create for himself and his teammates, he continues. His most special characteristic is his vision of the pitch and his passing. If he works hard and continues to improve like he has this season, he is exactly what modern basketball is all about.”
Able to defend all positions
When making the leap to the NBA, Dieng also has a more than solid defensive background. Thanks to his mobility, he is able to defend almost any position. Rayan Rupert, one of the biggest talents of the 2004 generation and potential candidate for the NBA draft next year, was able to realize this by rubbing shoulders with him at the Federal Center. Him, the leader-back of 1.96m, admits that he had trouble taking the speed winger.
“He has very good support and he moves quickly, assures the future player of the Breakers. We have often compared him to Paul George, and I admit that he is the player who comes directly to my mind. He has a long wingspan, he’s tall and he’s quite mobile. He’s a player who can attack but also be versatile in defence.”
“On the court, his partners adore him. He has this thing that attracts everyone around him, he is unanimous, like all great players.”
To sum up Ousmane Dieng has an extraordinary physique would be more than a simplistic one. Jean-Aimé Toupane, coach of the French women’s team since last year, had the young winger under his orders at the Federal Center for several seasons before the departure of the young star for the Breakers. He claims to have been impressed by his mentality on and off the pitch.
“Ousmane is a sought-after profile. He is calm, he has a good attitude, he describes. He is an emotionally stable boy and well surrounded. He has understood everything about the high level requirements. When you look at him, we see that he is a different boy. Everywhere in the world, when we recruit a player, we want him to be a great player but also to be able to live in a group, to listen and to exchange ” Ousmane, on this point, it’s a godsend. I’ve never had any problem with him off the field. On the court, his partners love him. He has this thing that attracts everyone around him , he is unanimous, like all great players.”
Any reservations about his muscle development?
Described in this way, Ousmane Dieng has everything from the rare pearl and to see him “only” announced around the top 10 in the next draft seems almost incomprehensible. For the moment, a main factor can make recruiters a little reluctant: his weak muscular development. Unlike other prospects, the Frenchman is not “NBA ready” and is currently too frail to come up against the physical harshness of the Great League. “The biggest weakness is that his body is not ready for the NBA yet, so he might not have a big impact from the start, believes Mody Maor. Everyone has to have a little patience with him, for him allow them to develop at the right pace.”
“Sometimes we have the impression that he is too nice. But that’s not true, being nice off the pitch is something else. He also has a mental toughness on the floor, he’s someone who doesn’t never doubt.”
“His room for improvement is physical, supports Rayan Rupert. But that’s not really a problem because that’s the case with a lot of young players and he can easily gain mass in the NBA.”
After having played against adults in the last three seasons (two in National 1 with the Federal Center and one in the Australian NBL with the Breakers), Ousmane Dieng has however already had the opportunity to measure himself against physically “finished” players. . Especially since, as Jean-Aimé Toupane points out, the young man also has a great mind.
A big mind
“As it is very big, it is not completely finished. But for a year, he has filled in a little bit, he has an already greater physical impact. Sometimes it feels like he’s too nice. But that’s not true, being nice off the field is something else. He also has a mental toughness on the floor, he is someone who never doubts, assures his former trainer. In one year, with the experience in the Australian championship, he showed that he had improved a lot. He just needs experience, but that comes over time and it’s something that comes very quickly, especially given the level at which he plays. You would have seen him three years ago when he arrived here (at the Federal Center, editor’s note)… We have the photos!” Everything suggests that these could quickly come out if the Frenchman succeeds in conquering America.
The other French people who could be drafted, all in the second round (beyond 30th place)
- Ismael Kamagate (Paris Basketball)
- Hugo Besson (New Zealand Breakers)
- Moussa Diabate (Michigan)
- Yoan Makoundou (Cholet)