Monday, August 18, 2014

Potential New Knight: Jean Yves Toupane jr. F 6-7 185

For years I've heard Gannon basketball rumors from a variety of sources including friends, family, former GU players, co-workers, blog commenters, and anonymous emailers. Now I have one to add to the list: ESPN.

According to ESPN college basketball writer Jeff Goodman, junior forward Jean Yves Toupane (pronounced jawn two-PAIN) has transferred from Division I St. Bonaventure to Gannon. That rumor has been floating around for a while including on a Bonaventure message board and in the Olean Times Herald.

Toupane's stats during his two years of Division I play are rather pedestrian (18 total points scored), but his bio is anything but boring. A native of Senegal, he was first discovered by U.S. scouts while participating in the Sports for Education and Economic Development (SEEDS) program in Africa. He went on to earn MVP honors of both the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program in Africa and the Jordan Brand international game in 2010. His final year of high school play, he was named one of the top 100 small forward college prospects in the U.S. by Gannon-rumor-starter ESPN.

Before we talk more about Toupane's basketball ability, let's look at a little Gannon history. I believe only one other player who hailed from Africa has suited up for the Knights. Akol Tong, a 7-foot-3 reserve center and native of the Sudan, played for Gannon from 1987-91. "Footer" was a Hammermill fan favorite despite limited playing time. Now back to Toupane:

* Played 6 games as a sophomore, registering 4 points (0.7 ppg) and 1 rebound in 11 minutes of play.
* Saw action in 7 games his freshman year, scoring 14 points (2.0 ppg). In 30 minutes of action, he grabbed 4 rebounds and made 3-of-8 three-pointers.
* Scored a career-high of 7 during a 92-73 loss at NC State on Dec. 22, 2012. Hit on a pair of three-pointers and a free throw vs. the Wolfpack.
* If you really want to break down his stats, this web page from DraftExpress will do that for you.
* This is the press release from his signing with Bona back in 2011. Bonnie head coach Mark Schmidt said, "Jean is a long, athletic player with great skills. He can really score the ball from the wing and we're excited to have him join us."
* This string from a Bonaventure message board is an interesting read for a few reasons, most notably a nugget that he was being recruited by Georgia, USC, and Bradley before committing to SBU.
* Before Bonaventure, Toupane played at Lee Academy, a prep school in Lee, ME. This web page gives some background on the Lee program and lists alums playing collegiately. I didn't recognize any of the players, but the schools include Oregon State, Colorado, UMass, SMU, Texas A&M, LaSalle, Fordham, and PSAC foe Millersville. (Side note: That list made me think of this Sesame Street song.)
* This article in the New England Recruiting Report says, "Jean Yves Toupane is a long and athletic swingman who knows how to put the ball in the basket." Another NERR article describes him this way: "Toupane is a long and skilled perimeter forward with a soft shooting touch from long range and a knack for scoring the basketball. His jumper comes complete with a high release that allows him to get it off with very little separation from his defender."
* NERR named him one of the Top 20 players in the New England Region in 2012. I didn't think that meant much -- Maine, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Hamphire aren't exactly basketball factories -- until I saw other names on that list included recent NBA first round draft picks and NCAA finalists Mitch McGary and Nik Stauskas, current Detroit Piston Andre Drummond, and University of Arizona big man Kaleb Tarczewski.
* I couldn't find any revealing video on Toupane. This YouTube snippet is from his days at Lee Academy; he is #44 in blue.
* This second clip from some Lee game action offers little value besides Toupane's three-pointer at the 4:15 mark and that Lee's offensive strategy gave me a skull-splitting headache. Pass the ball! Move the ball! Swing the ball!
* OK -- I can't end on that note. Let's conclude with my citing NBA journeyman Ronny Turiaf's personal website that mentions Toupane. I predict we will never do that again.

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