SENEGAL announced its 23-man preliminary lineup set to take part in a four-week training camp to prepare for their stint in the Fiba Olympic Qualifiers in Manila on July.
The pre-selected pool, bannered by NBA player Gorgui Dieng, begin their preparations on June 6 in Dakar, with eight players from their roster that finished fourth in the 2015 AfroBasket tournament joining the Minnesota Timberwolves big man.
Notably left out of the squad are Xane D’Almeida, Mouhammad Faye, Saer Sene, and Pape Abdou Badji.
D’Almeida, Senegal’s top point guard who led the team in assists in the 2014 Fiba World Cup and 2015 AfroBasket, will not participate in the Manila OQT due to injury. Senegal also lost tall vets with 2014 World Cup and 2015 AfroBasket experience in starting forward Faye, who stands 6-foot-9, ruled out along with 6-foot-11 backup center Sene and 6-foot-10 forward Badji.
Dieng, however, will still have Senegal’s second leading scorer and rebounder in the 2015 AfroBasket Antoine Mendy in the pool as well as some names familiar to Gilas Pilipinas and Philippine basketball fans alike.
Hoping to make the cut are Hamady Ndiaye and Maurice Ndour. The seven-foot Ndiaye, who now plays in Israel following short stints in the NBA and in China, was part of the Senegal squad that Gilas Pilipinas beat in the 2014 World Cup and he also played in the PBA in 2015 as an import for Kia. The 23-year-old 6-foot-9 forward Ndour also played significant minutes for Senegal in the 2014 World Cup.
Senegal’s preliminary lineup for the Manila OQT is a bit younger and inexperienced, as Mendy told Fiba.com, but remains unfazed as their group still features a good mix of athleticism, height, and veteran leadership that has proven successful in their past international stints.
“It's a great group of players. If everybody named in the list can come, we'll be tough to beat," said Mendy. “I saw Ndiaye and Ndour play this season. They are the kind of players that we need in a competition like the OQT. They can make a difference for us."
"I hope the younger players can help. They may lack international experience, but they will just need to play the best they can,” he added. “I am ready to join the national when the national team's training camp begin. I can't wait to take to the court in Manila.”
Senegal hopes to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics since their last Olympic stint was in 1980. To do that, they face Canada and Turkey in Group A of the Manila OQT, with the top two teams advancing to the next stage where they meet Group B contenders France, New Zealand, and Gilas Pilipinas. Only the winner of the tournament gets a ticket to the Rio Games.
Here’s the full list of Senegal’s preliminary squad for the Manila OQT: Louis Adams, Gueye Serigne Bamba, Moussa Camara, Badou Diagne, Moussa Diagne, Gorgui Dieng, Ibrahima Fall Faye, Ibrahima Mbengue, Cheikh Tidiane Mbodj, Antoine Mendy, Papis Sadiaw Diatta Ndiaye, El Hadj Malick Ndiaye, Thierno Ibrahima Niang, Maurice Ndour, Abdoulaye Ndoye, Maleye Ndoye, Youssoupha Ndoye, Hamady Ndiaye, Mamadou Ndiaye, Ibrahima Niang, Lamine Samb, Sitapha Savane and Ibrahima Thomas.