Gorgui Dieng Visits White House With National Champion Louisville
Gorgui Dieng Visits White House With Louisville Teammates To Celebrate 2013 National Championship
Gorgui Dieng listed President Barack Obama as the person he’d most like to meet on his University of Louisville athlete bio page. On Tuesday, Dieng got a chance to check that off his bucket list.
Dieng and his Louisville men’s basketball teammates visited the White House to celebrate their 2013 NCAA national championship with President Obama, who joked the Cardinals’ biggest motivating factor in winning the title was busting his bracket.
Louisville won their third national championship in school history this April—their first since 1986—after going 35-5 on the year. It was coach Rick Pitino’s second national title and first with Louisville, making him the first coach to win titles at two different schools. President Obama also referenced that particular week being a special one in general for Pitino, as his son, Richard, was named the head coach of the University of Minnesota men’s basketball program.
Dieng led his Cardinals squad out onto the podium on Tuesday at The White House, and he proudly shook President Obama’s hand after receiving kind words from the President in his speech.
President Obama said during his recent trip to Senegal, Dieng’s home country, people were very excited about his future in the NBA. Dieng was drafted 21st overall and traded to the Wolves on Draft night, and he just wrapped up participating in Summer League last week.
Dieng was a pivotal part of the Cardinals’ success this season. He played 31.1 minutes per game, scored 9.8 points and added 9.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game while shooting 53.4 percent from the field. He was incredibly efficient around the rim on the offensive end, and it was his rim protection that piqued the Wolves’ interest in him coming out of college. He also possesses a sense for getting the ball to his teammates that Minnesota liked while evaluating him, and that translated into 2.0 assists per game from the center spot.
He scored eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, brought down eight rebounds—five offensive—and had six assists in Louisville’s 82-76 over Michigan in the national championship game. His top performance of the tournament was a 14-point, 11-rebound and four-block effort against Duke in the Elite Eight. He had 15 blocks during the six-game NCAA tournament.
Pitino said the Cardinals were a blue-collar group that came to work ready to improve every day. They were rewarded with a national championship.