Mam Jaiteh Not Coming to U.S.


Mouhammadou Jaiteh will not be coming to Montlake…

I asked French forward William Howard this weekend if he knew anything about Mam Jaiteh’s plans. Howard informed me that Mouhammadou Jaiteh will not be coming to play college ball in America. That isn’t a huge shock, since I reported earlier last week that @ChristopheEPcom of European Prospects tweeted this below.

But, in following up with his friend William Howard from INSEP and the French National Team, why Mam Jaiteh would come to visit UW and Gonzaga and then decide not to come to the Pacific Northwest to play college ball, Howard told me that Jaiteh would need to finish his high school diploma this summer with an extremely high grade to gain eligibility and/or have to attend a prep school. Rather than focus his energies on trying to gain eligibility and possibly waste a year at a prep school to do so, he would rather turn pro in France and focus his attention on basketball.

The website, Slipper Still Fits, speculates that Jaiteh also soured on the idea that he would need to redshirt at either Gonzaga or UW and he simply did not want to sit out a year either way.

But, perhaps it isn’t all that bad of a situation that Jaiteh won’t be playing at Montlake. Draft Express NBA had this to say about Mam Jaiteh:

One of the more physically gifted big men in attendance, especially considering he turned 16 just a few months ago, Mouhammadou Jaiteh (or Mam Jaiteh) is not a particularly skilled player, but regardless has considerable upside to continue to improve down the road. Standing 6-9, but already sporting a NBA caliber frame despite his young age, Jaiteh is a mobile center with good hands and solid athleticism.

Offensively, Jaiteh is extremely limited, as he possesses very little footwork, average touch around the basket and is unable to pass out of double teams. Regardless of where he catches the ball on the floor, he’s always looking to make a move, which renders him fairly turnover prone, particularly once opponents caught onto this fact. He lacks significant experience and fundamentals on this end as you can probably imagine, though, particularly in team defensive settings where he doesn’t show a great feel for rotating and wasn’t much of a shot-blocking threat despite his physical tools.

So, based on this evaluation, perhaps he is not what the Huskies need. The Huskies have already had big men like this in the past and they just do not fit well with Romar’s style of play. The Huskies do not need a project at this point. They need a big man who can fit right into the scheme and contribute right away. They already have three projects right now in Shawn Kemp Jr., Martin Bruenig, and Jerrard Jarreau to work with. By the time Jaiteh would be ready to contribute, one would hope that one or all three of the guys already on the roster would be ready too. Plus, the Huskies have a veteran in Perris Blackwell and the possibility of picking up a 4 or 5 star big man recruit for the class of 2013.

But, we can now officially close the door on the French Connection and we can move onto planning for the 2012 season with the roster we have, since Perris Blackwell will be sitting out and coming in for the 2013-14 season as a veteran presence to replace Aziz N’Diaye and help stabilize what could be an interesting mix of veterans and all-star freshmen.