Of the two forwards West Virginia University recruited from Huntington Prep last offseason, it was Isaiah Cottrell who was expected to step right in and contribute for the Mountaineers while Seny Ndiaye’s original plan was to redshirt.
Things rarely work out as expected, however, and on Saturday against the Kansas State Wildcats, it was Ndiaye who was on the court for the Mountaineers. With Cottrell sidelined for the season due to a knee injury and Oscar Tshiebwe transferring away from WVU — not to mention the two-week COVID shut down the team just went through — Ndiaye was forced into action Saturday, logging a career-high eight minutes and scoring his first career basket.
Ndaiye, a native of Senegal, finished with two points and one rebound with four personal fouls. Not a particularly good game by normal standards, but not bad for a player that was never supposed to see the floor this season.
“He’s just a raw athlete and he looked really, really good today,” redshirt-freshman Jalen Bridges said after the game. “He knew what he was doing, he wasn’t nervous with the ball.”
Coming out of Huntington prep, Cottrell was the polished four-star recruit with 30 different scholarship offers who could have gone to almost any school he wanted. Ndiaye, on the other hand, was unrated by the major recruiting outlets and WVU coach Bob Huggins has said he would have redshirted this season if not for the NCAA’s blanket eligibility ruling.
“We wanted to get Seny some time, Seny was one of the guys that we could work with [in practice] and I wanted to see what he could do,” Huggins said. “Gabe [Osabuohien] does a great job but Gabe’s just not as tall as those other guys.”
Listed at 6-foot-10 and 235 pounds, Ndiaye certainly has the size to play major conference basketball. Despite being a year ahead of schedule, it seems his teamates believe he can as well.
“Seny’s just a guy who the only thing he cares about is winning,” Bridges said. “He doesn’t care about if he scores, he doesn’t care about how many rebounds he gets, how many blocks he gets, he just wants to win. With that he plays with unlimited energy.”
Ndiaye and the Mountaineers will play host to No. 12 Texas Tech for a top-15 matchup on Monday night. The two teams will tip-off at 9 p.m. Monday in the WVU Coliseum. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.