Indiana State River College (JUCO) guard Abdoulaye Thiam commits to Minnesota

May 21, 2021: Top JUCO transfer guard from Indiana State River College (Fla.) Abdoulaye Thiam committed to the Gophers Friday.

–> BY: Tony Liebert

After a month without a single transfer commitment, Ben Johnson and the Gophers have added two players to their 2021-22 roster in back-to-back days. Following a commitment from Stephen F. Austin transfer big man Charlie Daniels yesterday, Indiana State River College transfer guard Abdoulaye Thiam has joined him. The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 15  points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 48.5% from three in his first collegiate season last year. He chose the Gophers over offers from Buffalo, Kent State and Coastal Carolina to name a few. He will have four years of eligibility remaining.

Who is Abdoulaye Thiam?:

Abdoulaye Thiam is a 6-foot-3-inch guard from Orlando, Fla. He attended Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla. (notable alumni D.J. Khaled) where his basketball career would begin to flourish. Dr. Phillips is one of the top high school basketball programs in the state of Florida, as it most recently won the 7A Florida State Championship last season. Thiam would have a very effective high school career, most notably scoring 34 points en route to a Class 7A, District 3 championship in his senior season for the Panthers. He would go on to be criminally under-recruited after his high school career, and he would opt for the JUCO route.

Thiam committed to Indian River State College (the same JUCO where Charlie Daniels began his career) to play his first season of collegiate basketball. The freshman guard would produce a highly effective season in 2021 averaging 15  points and 3.4 rebounds per game while shooting 48.5% from three. Following the season he would decide to enter the transfer portal. The young guard would be in high demand receiving a handful of D1 offers until ultimately choosing the Gophers.

Initial Reaction:

Given the current state of the Gophers basketball program, this move has me excited. From what I know Abdoulaye Thiam is a very talented player with serious potential. When he was in high school, many viewed Thiam as one of the best shooters in the state of Florida. Local reporter Ryan James has already reported Thiam to be a hardworking player and he was already quoted to say, “I got this out of the mud and I am grateful for it. The mission is nowhere near complete.”

Those words right there have me excited. Thiam has four seasons of eligibility remaining, and given the current roster, he has the chance to be a serious contributor right away. From a miscellaneous selection of highlights, he seems to be a very athletic score-first guard, with a natural feel for the game. This is the type of move that makes sense for the Gophers, as Thiam is a high potential prospect as they look ahead to the future.

What is next:

Following yesterday’s commitment from Charlie Daniels, and today’s from Abdoulaye Thiam, the Gophers have three open scholarships remaining, as their 2021-22 roster begins to take serious form.

PG: Payton Willis/E.J. Stephens
SG: Abdoulaye Thiam/Luke Loewe
SF: Jamison Battle/Sean Sutherlin
PF: Isaiah Ihnen
C: Charlie Daniels/Treyton Thompson

INJ: Parker Fox

This roster is still far from competing for postseason basketball, but this type of move is one that makes me excited. Departures from Gabe Kalscheur, Liam Robbins and Marcus Carr would be tough for any coach to recover from let alone a first-year D1 coach. There is no doubt that next season will be a long run for Gophers basketball and their fans, but Abdoulaye Thiam’s commitment has me excited for the future. A trio of Fox, Battle and Thiam for next season give Ben Johnson a great building block in the 2022 offseason with so many top high school players from Minnesota uncommitted. There is still what seems like miles to go, but the future is looking bright. PATIENCE!

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