Thursday, July 22, 2010

Niang takes step forward after reclassifying

An ongoing joke on the high school basketball and AAU circuit is the constant reclassification of players from New England – but Georges Niang does not see the big deal.

“For me, I was young for my grade,” the 2012 prospect from Tilton (N.H.) said. “I didn’t really know what would happen with basketball, but I got a lot better. I matured on and off the court. If you can take an extra year to get better, why not use it?”

Niang, who repeated his first high school year, has certainly used it to his advantage.

The 6-foot-7 forward has become one of the biggest sleepers in the region, impressing scouts and viewers on nearly every big stage. He scored 22 points at the National Prep Showcase against Bridgton Academy (R.I.) in November, dropped 31 points against Brimmer and May (Mass.) at the BABC Prep Classic and went for 25 points and eight rebounds vs. the Georgia Stars in the U-16 finals at the Peach Jam last week.

Despite being somewhat undersized, Niang is always productive. He has a variety of low-post moves around the basket and is underrated athletically. Furthermore, he has an effective face-up game that makes him difficult to guard.

Mid-majors from across the country have taken notice, as he holds offers from Florida Atlantic, Hofstra and New Hampshire, with interest from Siena, Drexel, Northeastern, Holy Cross, Monmouth, Fairfield, Boston College and Notre Dame.

“I’m looking for a place with good academics, where I can be successful,” Niang said. “Somewhere I can make a difference and step right on the court. It has to be the right fit, the right place.”

The fact that only two high-major schools are showing him interest right now underscores just how underrated Niang is on a national level.

“Everybody has their opinion,” he said. “The whole national thing, it’s who you know rather than how good you are. But it keeps me humble.”

Unlike many players who are looking to get to the highest level demonstrating interest, whether they can make an impact or not, Niang does not seem like a prospect who is going to reach out of his league, both literally and figuratively.

“I’m aiming for as high as I can go, and also the best fit,” he said. “If the highest I can go is the Atlantic-10, I’ll go there. I’m want to play where I can play, and get a good education.”

With more performances like he has had over the past several months, Niang is likely to see more interest from high-major colleges in the region and around the nation.

Not surprisingly, he even feels like his stock went up at the Peach Jam, where he played with a loaded BABC team in front of a slew of big-name college coaches.

“I do think it did,” Niang said. “I showed colleges I can play. To me, it’s the best tournament in America. You see everybody there.”

Photo Credit: New England Recruiting Report

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