Gorgui Dieng has said more than once that his primary objective at the University of Louisville is getting a college degree.
The sheepskin is what his Mom and Dad want, too, first and foremost. Presumably within four years after enrollment and before he would even consider professional basketball.
Now we get word, however, that Coach Rick Pitino wants Gorgui, along with Chane Behanan and Russ Smith, to submit to the NBA draft to see where they stand. If they don’t get drafted, they will get some valuable feedback on what which parts of their game need work.
Fine with Behanan and Smith. They would go pro in a New York minute, no second thoughts. Their lives revolve around basketball. Pitino says Gorgui’s age might be a concern for NBA teams wanting to develop his talents.
Dieng, we believe, may have higher aspirations than playing in the NBA. Dieng is 23 years old, born January 18, 1990 in Kebemer, Senegal on the west coast of Africa. During press conferences, he has talked about the values of his father, about how nothing worthwhile comes easy, and wanting to return home to help his fellow countrymen.
He may make some ungodly money in the NBA, but it’s difficult to embrace the idea of Gorgui Dieng wasting away on an NBA bench night after night, hoping for a few minutes of playing time.
He could be sending money home and might even turn out to be a decent player in the pros some day. But the rigors of professional basketball would take a toll on the learning curve while depriving him of daily interaction with others similarly inclined. We’d prefer to see him in an academic atmosphere for at least another year, continuing to prepare himself for a leadership role when he returns home.