East Region Loaded with Muslim Talent

By Parvez Fatteh, Founder of http://sportingummah.com, sports@muslimobserver.com

There are a number of teams in the East Region of this year’s NCAA men’s basketball tournament that are sporting Muslim basketball players. The only head-to-head matchup of Muslim talent in this region involves Syracuse University and Montana University. Traditional power Syracuse boasts Baye Keita, a 6’10” junior center from Senegal. While the underdog Montana Grizzlies are led by 6’5 junior wing player Kareem Jamar from Venice, California. Syracuse is the number 4 seed in the region, while Montana is the number 13 seed.
The next highest seeded team in the region with a Muslim player is the seventh-seeded University of Illinois team. Ibrahima “Ibby” Djimde may not get much playing time currently. But the 6’8” sophomore forward continues to adjust to American basketball after coming over from Mali during high school. One Muslim player that is not technically assured yet of a spot in the actual tournament is Alioune Diouf of James Madison University. James Madison has to take part in a play-in game against Long Island University at Brooklyn for the right to face number one overall seed Indiana University. Diouf is a 6’5” senior guard from Georgia.
Finally, there is the interesting story of Davidson University forward Youssef Mejri. Mejri moved to the United States from Tunisia as a teenager to pursue his academic and sports dreams. He enrolled at a prep school in Southern California, only to be dismissed in less than a month due to administrative politics. He landed on his feet, however, at another local prep school. And now the sophomore is part of a 26-7 Davidson team that faces Marquette in the first round of the tournament.

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