Luc Mbah a Moute RumorsAll NBA Players
Touomou saw in person how tall the boy was and knew that elite volleyball aptitude meant quick feet and leaping ability. So he once again reached out to a formidable father. Thomas Embiid needed convincing that his son had a future in basketball, but Touomou had a new-and ultimately winning-selling point: Mbah a Moute’s success.
It’s now the second morning of Mbah a Moute’s 2011 camp, and a jittery Embiid sets up in the post, just as Hakeem Olajuwon had done in the tapes Touomou had given him to review. The entry pass to him is woefully off target, but Embiid swallows it with one hand. He dribbles, spins, drop-steps, gathers himself and explodes to the hoop. Mbah a Moute is seeing Joel Embiid play for the first time. He turns to his coaches. “How long did you say this kid has been playing?” “I knew guys who had been in the NBA for years who couldn’t do that,” Mbah a Moute says now.
When it comes time to choose a college, Embiid leans on Mbah a Moute. “I didn’t even know what the NCAA was,” Embiid says. “Luc talked to the coaches for me.” Embiid chooses Kansas and spends the summer in Lawrence working out with another newcomer, Tarik Black, a transfer from Memphis. One afternoon, as they alternate between the hot and cold tubs after their training, Embiid confides in Black that he has doubts about whether he has the mettle to see this basketball thing through. Black assures Embiid he will be an NBA star if he can just hang in there.
The last time Joel talked with Luc, they discussed how to promote basketball in their country. They are kicking around the idea of doing a joint camp with Siakam. All three recognize the need to build on this burst of basketball popularity. “Three of us in the NBA?” Siakam says. “When I stop to think about it, it’s crazy.”
Amadou Fall: When you have your own [NBA players] like Luc Mbah a Moute, Gorgui Dieng, Joel Embiid, I’m just talking about the younger guys. These guys have come through the Basketball Without Borders [camp]. It’s not hard on selling them on where they come from. They are helping build their own brand with the NBA on their continent. And what I’m most proud of is the impact we’re having in the community in terms of using basketball as a tool to inspire young people. With the values of the game, they are learning discipline, hard work, sportsmanship, all these elements of helping young people in their formative years.
15 Dec 13