September 26, 2007

Sene ready for weekend visit

Assane Sene's name has been on a lot of lists lately. Some good, some bad. These days, the good certainly out weigh the bad.

The 7-foot, 225-pound center is a newer name on the recruiting radar thanks in large part to his delayed arrival to the United States. The three-star prospect was all set to arrive a year ago at South Kent (Conn.) but due to one letter, Sene was stuck in his home county of Senegal.

A man named Hassane Sene, also a Senegalese native, was on the Homeland Security list and kept the teenager out of the county.

"Obviously it wasn't him," South Kent head coach Ralph Chillious said. "He's a 17-year-old kid. The other guy was actually here in the United States…(Assane) is on the good list now."

Chillious isn't kidding. On Tuesday night, coaches from Virginia, Maryland, UConn, Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Fairfield were on hand to see Sene. Pitt and North Carolina were also there to see teammate Maurice Creek, Chillious said.

Kansas head coach Bill Self is coming in on Wednesday and UCLA's Ben Howland is coming next Tuesday, according to Chillious. Syracuse is also very much involved.

"He is the man of the hour," Chillious said. "You just don't find too many big kids that can do what he can do. He can really run."

Sene has been to Connecticut already and a third trip to Virginia will happen this weekend for the big man. Chillious said Sene is taking his recruitment one visit at a time.

"We're going to play it by ear and see how it goes this weekend. If he goes anywhere else, he'd be going to UConn," the coach said. "Those are the two places he said he wants to see the most and visit right away.

"He's one of those real cerebral kids. He likes to take his time with stuff. But he has done his homework on his top five schools. He really knows what he is looking for. If one of them blows him away, then I can see him committing. If no one blows him away, I can see him (waiting to sign in the spring)."

The buzz out of South Kent regarding Sene has been positive amongst college coaches. Sene is trying to overcome some nagging injuries and battling with future Rutgers big man Christian Morris every day in practice is only helping his improvement, Chillious said.

"When everyone saw him at NBA camp, he was coming off a thumb injury and people assumed all of the Africans that come over are extremely raw but he's skilled a lot like (current SMU freshman) Papa Dia was for us. He's in front of him actually in terms of talent," Chillious said. "When coaches are coming in and seeing him work out. That's what shocks them. They didn't know how good he really is. He's blocking shots and rebounding but no one realized that he can shoot the ball, put it on the floor and post people up. He's really talented and plays so much harder than everybody."

Sene is off of "the bad list" now. He could be on the committed list in the near future.

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