By Steve DiMiceli
With the constant clamoring for the next big thing at center, the last guy on our minds to emerge coming into the season was Mamadou Datt. As with any unknown commodities we've recruited, we tend to overlook the ones we don't hear a lot about in favor of shinier new toys. Short offer sheets and 6'8'' frames tend to take a backseat to 7'1'' guys and ones with offers from C - USA schools. Truth is Datt out shined both of the Dukes other first year bigs even if he was not completely polished.
What he did well
While raw, Datt proved to have some interior offensive skills. He can score in a variety of ways and is not afraid to finish strong. He is a fairly strong offensive rebounder and is more athletic than I would have expected. He manages to find space for himself and seems a lot more comfortable on the offensive side of the ball. He runs the floor very well.
What he didn't do well
Datt's Duquesne career could be completely derailed if he is unable to improve on defense. He fouled virtually every time down the court. He was easily drawn to the perimeter on screens and spent too much time away from the basket. He had a difficult time switching back taking him out of position for defensive rebounds.
Datt will need to add a significant amount of weight in order to increase his presence in the paint and he will need to play better positional defense. The good news is that age and experience tend to fix both. If the Dukes are going to have a viable interior option next year, it will more likely come from the improvement of Datt than from an outside addition. Datt showed glimpes of being a very strong post player this year including several games that felt like breakouts. He reminds me a bit of a poor man's or raw Pops Mensah Bonsu. He still is quite inexperienced and with time, he could unlock some of his potential.