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PI EXCLUSIVE: Canadian forward Ismael Diouf explains journey to NC State

Earlier this week, the NC State men’s basketball team secured a commitment from Canadian forward Ismael Diouf. He just completed Laval University’s run to the National Championship and was the #1 Draft Pick in the 2024 CEBL Draft. Instead of currently going the route of professional ball in the CEBL, he opted to enroll at NC State for his final two years of eligibility.

I spoke with Diouf to get his thoughts on his journey to NC State.

What was it like to win the National Championship this past season?

I had nothing to lose. We were really prepared, especially against Victoria. I had a lot of confidence in defense, and it also helped me in attack.

It was incredible! Thanks to the team who have worked so hard since the summer. Everyone did their part and that’s why we won.

You really seemed to hit the ground running in the Final 8 tournament. What do you think clicked for you in the postseason?

What did it mean to you to be ranked No. 1 overall in the CEBL Draft?

So grateful! For me it is a dream, but also a source of motivation to keep working because it yields so much more than I thought.

When did NC State start recruiting you, and what stood out to them compared to other schools that recruited you? What was their pitch to you?

About 1-2 weeks ago. I didn’t visit another school because I knew it was the right choice for me. The coaching staff, team and facility look fantastic. The visibility and potential look promising.

Take us through your visit to Raleigh. What did you do and what impression did it make on you?

I toured the men’s basketball building and campus. It was really impressive. It was perfect and wonderful. We also went to the PNC arena. I was shocked to hear that there was room for 20,000 spectators. I loved the city! Everything seems brand new so I’m very excited to live there.

What do you like about the NC State Basketball program?

The coaches, the team, the staff, the campus, the city, the opportunities and the competition… that’s why I’m so excited to go there!

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Click here to see some of Diouf’s highlights.