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Youssou Ndoye, An All-Time Bonnie?

Some laughed when the Bonnies signed the 7-foot Ndoye….They’re not laughing anymore.

The Stith Brothers. Greg Sanders. Essie Hollis. Earl Belcher. Bob Lanier. Andrew Nicholson.

All-time Bonaventure greats. No question about it.

Youssou Ndoye…

While no one will likely ever put the current Bonnies seven foot center into a conversation with the names above, it’s time to recognize that Youssou is carving out a hell-of-a-career for himself just years after picking up a basketball for the first time in his native Senegal. Think about the development the long shot-blocker has made since his freshman season while playing behind Nicholson…

2.6 points in 10.4 minutes and 0.5 blocks while shooting a fantastic 59.6% from the field.

After watching ‘You scratch the surface of his potential in Atlantic City in 2012 during our title run, the big man has only gotten better and better. And while he’s taken some criticism for being spotty offensively and vanishing once in awhile (mostly when inside a zone), Ndoye has quietly carved out a career worthy of being discussed with the next group of Bonnies players. Guys like J.R. Bremer, Rashaan Palmer, David Vanderpool, Tim Winn, Ahmad Smith, Michael Lee and others.

Consider this trivia question: How many Bonnies have netted a 1,000 points, 500 rebounds and blocked 175 shots?

The answer is two: Caswell Cyrus and Andrew Nicholson.

Youssou Ndoye will likely fall just short of joining them (right now he has 736 points, 530 boards and 164 blocks). Ndoye still is in that conversation with a pair of all-time big men. At the end of the day (or his career), Youssou is going to be a top three shot-blocker, a top fifteen rebounder and nearly (or maybe) a 1K point scorer….those don’t grow on trees, hell, those are damm hard to find. Any A10 coach would beg to have a Youssou Ndoye on their roster. Crap, there are top 25 teams that would want Youssou. He’s a skilled seven footer whose started to become a rebounding and shot blocking monster that protects the rim and changes how teams can attack the Bonnies’ defense. While his offensive game is still a bit more raw, he certainly has moments and can look really good on any given night (like Saturday when he dominated UMass).

You could also toss in the fact that Ndoye has made two A10 Semifinal appearance in his three chances; something only a handful of players have done during their time in Olean.

Let’s not forgot the story Mark Schmidt tells of signing Ndoye and having other coaches literally laugh on the phone when the Bonnies’ head man told them of SBU’s get. Other A10 teams laughed at the idea of turning the goofy, clumsy-footed basketball virgin into a legit A10 center. Those teams don’t need to take chances on projects. VCU, Dayton and GW (among others), don’t need to roll the dice on potential; instead they recruit real, tangible talent. Kids who are ready to play A10 hoops without needing three years of TLC and a lot of luck.

Ndoye has grown leaps and bounds since this game in March of 2012.

The Bonnies aren’t so fortunate.

But now in his senior season, Ndoye ranks 4th in rebounds and 13th in blocks per game in the A10,  in the entire country. The big man has been damm good over the last three years…and yes, he is still learning and getting better. He’s a double-double every night right now and his improvement on the boards and at the line have been profound. Let’s recognize that we’re watching a really good player in his final two plus months in Brown and White…we’re going to miss him in a big way next season.

Looks like Schmidt, and most importantly Ndoye will have the last laugh in this story.

A member of the class of 2008, Nolan spent four years as a student assistant with the program. He has written professionally for such outlets as espn.com/insider, Athlon Sports Magazines, Cox Sports Online and Blue Ribbon Previews. Ian was named one of the “140 Personalities to Follow in College Basketball” on twitter by The Sporting News.


  1. bill corr

    How do you leave out Fred Crawford what he accomplished in 77 games from your all-time great list?

    • Ian Nolan Post author


      I was just going off a list of names that popped into my head. I wasn’t attempting to include every all time great Bonnie. Crawford clearly would be in that conversation or on that list though.