Eleven Fighting Illini #10: Ibby Djimde October 31, 2012
6′-8″, 245 lbs.
Huntington Prep / Huntington, West Virginia
What I Know About Him:
When Jereme Richmond left in the spring of 2011, Bruce Weber went looking for frontcourt help with Richmond’s open scholarship. He found Djimde at Huntington Prep, a basketball factory in West Virginia. Djimde’s decision came down to Illinois and Old Dominion, and he picked the Illini very late in the spring signing period. The way I remember it, he picked Illinois and then moved to campus for summer school classes less than a month later.
When he arrived, he was mostly described as “raw” – he had only played basketball for four or five years. He moved to the United States from Mali in late 2009 and spent one year at Progressive Academy in Washington, DC and then one year at Huntington Prep.
He played sparingly last year, scoring five points and pulling down 14 rebounds in 17 games. My main memory of him last year was the Gonzaga game – we had big man foul trouble, forcing Djimde to play, and he held his own against Robert Sacre, even drawing a charge. But by the time Big Ten season rolled around, Djimde didn’t play much.
What I Expect From Him:
I expect him to play a little more this season, but since I’m putting him 10th here and I believe John Groce will have an eight or nine man rotation, I guess I’m not expecting him to play much. If we hadn’t added grad student transfer Sam McLaurin, I think Djimde would have played a lot more, but with McLaurin, Mike Shaw, and Tyler Griffey backing up current starters Myke Henry and Nnanna Egwu, I just don’t see many frontcourt minutes for Djimde.
But next year, after Griffey and McLaurin graduate, he’ll probably see a fair number of minutes. Say Myke Henry and Nnanna Egwu are our frontcourt starters for the next few seasons. Well, with Griffey and McLaurin gone, and only one big in the current recruiting class (Maverick Morgan), Djimde and Shaw will probably get a large number of those backup minutes next season.
For this year, though, I’ll say here-and-there minutes throughout the non-conference and then every-fourth-game-or-so through the Big Ten season. When would we use him? If I can be selfish, I’m always a big fan of the Five Fouls guy on your bench. Need someone to be physical with the opposing big who has Nnanna Egwu in foul trouble? “Ibby, you’ve got five fouls and I’m going to play you about seven minutes – use them all*.”
*Robert from ALionEye.com is not advocating violence with this statement. He simply likes it when backups, ahem, aggressively defend the paint.