Canada is not usually considered a basketball haven. Even though the country has spawned some NBA stars of varying prestige like Steve Nash, Andrew Wiggins and Jamal Murray, when trying to think of a country that produces basketball athletes, it just isn’t the first one to come to mind. For hockey? Absolutely. But not for hoops.
Well Eliel Nsoseme is out to break that generality for the Cincinnati Bearcats. The freshman forward was born in the Congo in 1997, but he played his high school basketball at the RISE Centre Academy in Ontario. A 6’9 devourer of shots in the paint, Nsoseme excels on defense and on the glass, much like fellow freshman forward Mamaoudou Diarra, and we can expect the two to follow in the footsteps of Tre Scott and Nysier Brooks and, if we’re lucky, Gary Clark and Kyle Washington as the next great frontcourt duo for the Bearcats.
Nsoseme has a bit more muscle down low, so he will be planted more firmly in the paint compared to Diarra and that means he will be swallowing up rebounds and getting easy looks throughout his college career. He averaged only 14 points per game for the RISE Centre Academy, but he tagged on 13 rebounds and 6.5 blocks (!) with that. So what we have here is a perfect Bearcat. He defends like crazy, attacks the glass and, occasionally, finds a way to get the ball in the basket.
A three-star recruit out of high school, Nsoseme was ranked the No. 41 center in the 2017 class by 247Sports and as one of the top prospects out of Canada. It will take some time for him to work into the rotation, what with the four frontcourt forces ahead of him (Clark, Washingt, Scott and Brooks), but Nsoseme will learn valuable lessons in his first year that will ideally pay off big dividends when its his time to take on a bigger role.