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Explosive Dieng On Fire At FIBA WC
Minnesota Timberwolves Gorgui Dieng is currently the Most Efficient Player of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, taking place in Spain.
The 24-year-old is the player responsible for Senegal’s impressive campaign at the tournament.
In Monday’s 77-75 triumph over Croatia, which followed a 82-75 victory over Puerto Rico the day before, Dieng contributed 27 points, eight rebounds and two block shots.
Since he announced his availability to wear the colours of his country in Spain 2014, the 2.11m centre has averaged 22 points, 11.7 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.7 block shots.
Senegal have increased their chances of advancing to the Round of 16 of the World Cup, but will need to succeed in the remaining two Group B games against Argentina and the Philippines.
The West African country will return to group action on Wednesday, to take on the South Americans.
Senegal coach Cheikh Sarr has described his side’s victories as achievements rather than miracles as suggested by some.
"Other teams come here to win the tournament. We are here to learn,” he explained.
"This is history. We joked around coming here saying we were trying to make history, but we really had in mind that we wanted to make history," said Senegal centre Hamady Ndiaye.
"It would be great to keep playing and continue to ride the wave. But we'll use the day to get some rest. And we will be focused the same for the next game against Argentina."
Senegal’s World Cup campaign is making waves around the world with some prominent international media outlets taking note.
Frenchman Boris Diaw, who has been a centrepiece for his country at the World Cup took to twitter to congratulate the countryman of his father.
“Congratulations to Senegal for the win against a good Croatian team,” he wrote.
DIENG'S NBA SEASON
2013-14 Season: GP: 60 | MIN: 13.6 | PTS: 4.8 | REB: 5.0 | FG%: 49.8
His string of five double-doubles in his first six games as a starter included his 22-21 rampage against the Rockets on 20 March, 2014.
NBA All-Rookie Second Team
Rookie of the Month – March
Nominated for Rookie of the Month in April
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT GORGUI
1. The name Gorgui means ‘The Old One’ in Wolof, the most widely spoken language in Senegal
2. Dieng holds the University of Louisville record for blocks in a season, which he set in his sophomore season of 2011-12, swatting a total of 128 (3.2 per game).
3. At Louisville, Dieng played for Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Coach Rick Pitino, a college coaching legend who also spent a combined six years at the helm of the Knicks (two years) and Celtics (four).
4. He’s one of eight children born to his parents, Momar Dieng and Seynabou Diagne.
5. His favourite athlete outside of basketball is Lionel Messi (courtesy of Louisville Athletics).
Download NBA GAME TIME to find out more about Dieng and the NBA’s international players in the ‘Around The World in 90 Days’ series.
*Story by Julio Chitunda and NBA.com