Khalifa Ndiaye has a unique basketball background. His love for the game has taken him to 4 different continents with 4 very different styles of basketball. He’s experienced new languages, cultures and ways to play the game. The 4th continent is where his professional basketball journey will begin with an overseas basketball tryout in one of the busiest and most visited cities in Spain, Barcelona.
We caught up with Khalifa and asked him a few questions about his basketball background and what led him to where he is now.
Describe a little bit about your basketball background. Where you have played growing up and until now?
I grew up playing soccer (Football) in Senegal. As I was getting taller my brother and cousin got me into playing basketball then I fell in love with the game. I started playing for AS Douanes ( a well known Senegalese club that was in the Basketball African League ) and did my whole youth basketball years there.
I then went to Japan for High school with my brother who was already living there 2 years prior. After Japan, I returned to Senegal and competed for 2 more years. I was then selected to the U18 -U19 national team in 2012-2013. That year we won the African Tournament and made it to the U19 World Cup in Czech Republic.
Around that same time I was off to finish high school in The US at Saint Benedict. Following high school, I attended Monroe Junior College where I played only for a year.
Now I’m at EuroProBasket avoiding any distraction and feeding my focus for a good opportunity.
How did you hear about end up attending EuroProBasket?
My brother , Maurice Ndour was actually the one who told me about the program and a few months later I’m here for this opportunity.
*Maurice Ndour was actually a former player for Valencia Basket’s 1st team as well as for many top teams around the world including the New York Knicks and Real Madrid. He’s currently playing in Lithuania’s top league as well as the Champions League. He’s also a lead player on the Senegalese Men’s National basketball team.
What was your experience like here at EuroProBasket?
It was pretty good to just get up everyday and do what you love so it’s easy when you keep your eyes on the prize and work hard.
How motivated are you to play professionally?
I’m highly motivated to play the game I love at a high level. I love challenges and hard work never goes in vain.
Where do you see yourself 3-5 years from now?
I see myself playing at a very high level and making other players see that anything is possible in life if you put your mind and time into it. I hope you guys will get to see what I’m all about soon.
Would you recommend a friend or former teammate to attend EuroProBasket for an opportunity? What would you tell him before he comes?
Of Course! If they really know what they want I will definitely push them to it but you just focus, work hard, and stay ready and prepared.
What limited you from playing University basketball?
A injury limited me from playing and my beloved sister Dr.Ndeye Fatou Ndiaye who we lost to cancer during that long period of time.
*We’re terribly sorry to hear about your sister. I am sure that gives you extra motivation to enjoy your life doing what you love to do. She would want that for you.
Why did you decide to start back up, playing basketball, again?
I never gave up on my dream and even that word isn’t part of my vocabulary. I will say It’s that Mamba mentality for me. Nothing comes easy in Life. You got to be strong and be all the best you can, the world is out there conquer your fear and don’t wait too long. If we don’t know hard life then we don’t know life yet and that’s that for me.
Khalifa is a young man that overcame great adversary to be where he is today. Coming from an impoverished country, losing a sister due to cancer, sustaining a serious knee injury that derailed his collegiate career. At the age of 27, Khalifa is now on his way to Barcelona, Spain for an overseas basketball tryout that could set him on course for a very long and successful professional basketball career.
He has the support of his family, his brother who has been living his dream of playing professional basketball, as well as the entire staff and team at EuroProBasket. The ball is in his court now.