Moments after 7-foot Mustapha “Momo” Cisse engaged in Oakland men’s basketball late Monday night, Nick Weaver’s cell phone began to explode.
A multitude of top-level head coaches were strained.
“And saying, ‘What is this? ”Weaver said with a laugh. “No one saw it coming.”
Weaver is the recruiting coordinator at Hillcrest Prep in Phoenix, Arizona, where Cisse has dominated and garnered major interest, including offers from Arizona State, Georgia, Mississippi State, Texas Tech and Cal. But he chose Oakland over all, believing that no matter where you play, if you excel, you’ll get noticed and advance to the NBA.
Cisse, a native of Senegal who played in France before arriving at Hillcrest in January, comes to Oakland from the same prep school as Micah Parrish, who excelled at Oakland last season in freshman.
“It’s a bit of everything,” Weaver said of Cisse’s decision. “With the transfer portal as it is today, and COVID, with the seniors coming back, I just wanted and he wanted to be in a good place where he could play sooner rather than later.
“And with Oakland playing a lot of high majors, we didn’t really see Oakland as a mid-major. We considered them a high-major because of the preseason schedule.
“It was just a perfect fit.”
Oakland coach Greg Kampe has had some 7-footers in his many years, but none have come forward with that kind of CV or talent – and Oakland has struggled to make an impact important in recent years. Daniel Oladapo, at 6-7, had impact from Oakland last season, but was transferred to Pittsburgh. Loudon Love, aged 6-8, was two-time Horizon League Player of the Year for Wright State. You can certainly survive in the Horizon League without much impact, but you can really thrive with one.
Kampe cannot comment on Cisse, under NCAA rules, because he did not sign his formal letter of intent.
Cisse did not visit Oakland, but had several phone and Zoom calls with Kampe, and was comfortable with the coach. Kampe sent several players to the NBA, most recently Kendrick Nunn, who averaged 15 points in two seasons with the Miami Heat. It’s the same Miami Heat team that just signed Duncan Robinson to a $ 90 million contract; Robinson began his college career in Division III, before moving to Michigan.
It just goes to show that there are many paths you can take for a great professional career, and that’s Cisse’s mindset as he prepares to move to Rochester next year.
“It’s the most important thing that happens in college basketball; players have started to realize that you don’t have to be in a major major,” said Weaver, who goes back years with Kampe and whose brother, Collin, played in Oakland. “You can be seen anywhere.
“If he averages 15, 20 points, 15 rebounds and leads the nation in blocked shots, he will lead the league.
“He’s betting on himself.
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