With the Minnesota Golden Gopher men’s basketball season kicking off on November 9th, we will be previewing all members of the roster. Thiam, a JUCO transfer from the Sunshine State, looks to provide shooting and speed in the backcourt for Coach Ben Johnson.
Height: 6’ 3”
Weight: 180 lbs
Thiam played his first year of college basketball at Indian River State College, a junior college in Fort Pierce, Florida. He overwhelmed that competition level, averaging 15 points per game on 56% shooting from the field and 48.6% from three-point territory. The Pioneers finished 20-4 on the season as Abdoulaye garnered All-Tournament Team honors at the Junior College National Tournament and contributed to a Southern Conference Championship.
While Abdoulaye is younger than some of his back court counter parts (Willis, Loewe, Stephens are all seniors), he possesses a certain amount of quickness and speed that those more experienced players may be lacking. His accuracy from three-point land will also be a welcome addition to a group of guards that will be looking for successful combinations on a nightly basis to provide the balance of defense and shooting to try to keep the Gophers in games. While it’s hard to conclude too much form junior college statistics, it’s hard not to see Thiam as a likely sharpshooter when given opportunity and necessary volume.
As has seemingly been stated as nauseum in past guard previews, Thiam will be getting a look at either guard spot. It seems like beyond the likely 30+ minutes that Payton Willis will accumulate every game, the rest of the available guard minutes will be decided upon who is performing the best at any given moment in both practice and in game action. While it is hard to draw firm conclusions about Abdoulaye’s place in the pecking order, it seems likely due to his lack of experience compared to his counterparts that he may start more towards the bottom. Though, depending on how his shooting touch and quickness translate to the Big Ten, he may find himself with a decent share of minutes as the season goes on and he adjusts accordingly.