Sekou Oumar Doumbouya

 

Sekou Oumar Doumbouya (born 23 December 2000) is a Guinean-born French professional basketball player for the Detroit Pistons of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Listed at 2.06 m (6 ft 9 in) and 105 kilograms (231 lbs), he plays both the small forward and power forward positions. Born in Conakry, Doumbouya grew up in France and began his career with local club CJF Les Aubrais when he was 13. In the following year, he attended INSEP and played for amateur team Centre Fédéral. His professional career started in 2016, when he joined Poitiers Basket 86 in the second-tier league of France, remaining with the team for two seasons. In 2018, Doumbouya moved to the first division by signing with Limoges. After one season, he was selected by the Pistons with the fifteenth pick in the 2019 NBA draft. Doumbouya is a member of the youth sections of the French national team. He helped France win the gold medal at the 2016 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship, finishing as his team’s leading scorer. Doumbouya was born in Conakry, Guinea. As a one-year-old, he moved to France with his mother M’Mah Marie, three siblings, and one cousin, settling in a small apartment in Fleury-les-Aubrais. His father, who was unable to receive a visa, remained in Guinea as a member of its military. In the absence of his father, Sekou became a leader for the rest of his family, often advising his siblings. Doumbouya grew up playing football as a striker but was eventually hindered by his extraordinary height. At age 12, he began playing pick-up basketball after a friend introduced him to the sport. At that age, he was discovered by local basketball coach Benoist Burguet, who helped start his basketball career and later became his trainer. By age 13, when Doumbouya stood 2.02 m (6 ft 7 1⁄2 in), he was playing youth basketball with his local club CJF Les Aubrais, the basketball sports section of Collège Condorcet.
At age 14, Doumbouya moved to the renowned French sports institute INSEP in Paris and joined its affiliated club Centre Fédéral de Basket-ball, a member of the Nationale Masculine 1 (NM1), the amateur third-tier division of French basketball. He made his 2015–16 season debut on 26 September 2015, recording 12 points, five rebounds, and three steals against Aurore de Vitré. In turn, Doumbouya became the first player born in the 2000s to play in the top three French leagues. On 8 March 2016, he scored a season-high 23 points in a loss to Vendée Challans. Doumbouya finished the season averaging 10.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. In May, he represented INSEP at the under-18 2015–16 Adidas Next Generation Tournament, averaging 14 points, 3.7 rebounds, and three assists while being one of the youngest players at the event at age 16. After the season, he left INSEP for disciplinary reasons. On 26 August 2016, at age 15, Doumbouya signed his first professional contract with Poitiers Basket 86 of the LNB Pro B, the second-tier French league. At the time, he revealed his hopes to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA) within the following three years. In the season, Doumbouya saw regular playing time despite his lack of experience, being coached by Ruddy Nelhomme and playing alongside veterans like Jeff Greer. While with Poitiers, he attended private school to work towards his diploma, and tried to model the focus he saw in former NBA player Michael Jordan with the help of a sports psychologist. On 17 September 2016, Doumbouya made his professional debut, playing 13 minutes in an LNB Pro B Leaders Cup victory over Boulazac. In his first Pro B season game on 14 October 2016, he scored two points in six minutes off the bench against Étoile Charleville-Mézières. He scored double figures for the first time on 20 January 2017, in an 81–63 loss to Fos Provence, posting a team-high 16 points on 7-of-11 shooting. In his next game, a defeat to Lille Métropole, Doumbouya scored a season-high 21 points and nine rebounds, shooting 3-of-3 from the three-point line. He finished the season averaging 6.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 0.8 assists in 16.9 minutes per game.
Doumbouya, on 29 June 2017, signed a three-year contract extension with Poitiers. On 29 September, he notched a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds in a 76–71 win over Hermine Nantes at the LNB Pro B Leaders Cup. Doumbouya debuted in the 2017–18 Pro B season against Denain Voltaire on 13 October 2017, recording seven points and four rebounds in 16 minutes. On 22 December, he scored a season-best 19 points and eight rebounds in a loss to Saint-Chamond. Doumbouya eclipsed that mark on 2 February 2018, in a career-high 26-point effort against UJAP Quimper 29. In 28 games, he averaged 8.5 points, 4.1 rebounds, and one assist in 23.2 minutes per game, en route to earning Pro B Best Young Player honors. In May 2018, Doumbouya revealed plans to join a team in the LNB Pro A, the top basketball league in France. On 25 June 2018, he signed with Limoges CSP of the Pro A. Head coach Kyle Milling praised the newcomer: “Despite his age, next season, I rely on him being an impact player. He has tremendous physical qualities: running, counterattack and speed. Doumbouya debuted for Limoges on 22 September 2018, recording two points and four rebounds in 11 minutes against Antibes. On 17 October, he scored 11 points, shooting 4-of-6 from the field, in a 102–93 loss to Alba Berlin in the EuroCup. In late December, Doumbouya scored 12 points in three straight games in the EuroCup and Pro A, shooting a combined 14-of-17 from the field. On 26 December, he suffered a right thumb injury that required surgery. Doumbouya returned to action on 9 February, scoring nine points and grabbing five rebounds versus Strasbourg. On 9 March, he recorded a season-high 14 points, five rebounds, and two blocks in an 85–73 loss to Monaco. Doumbouya erupted for a career-high 34 points, with five three-pointers and nine rebounds, on 18 May, in a 106–78 regular season finale win over Levallois Metropolitans. In 29 Pro A games, including two playoff contests, he averaged 7.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. In eight EuroCup appearances, Doumbouya averaged 6.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. In November 2016, Doumbouya obtained French citizenship. The process was delayed by months due to “bureaucracy,” according to the French national under-18 team, and as a result he was barred from two FIBA competitions. Doumbouya made his national team debut at the 2016 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship in Samsun, Turkey, which he entered as its youngest player. In his first game at the tournament, a 53–48 win over Russia, he scored seven points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds. In his next contest, Doumbouya led all scorers with 22 points and six rebounds against Slovenia. In his third game, he erupted for 31 points, shooting 10-of-11 from the field, to lead France past Serbia, 71–68. Doumbouya averaged a team-best 17.8 points, seven rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks at the tournament, helping his team win the gold medal. He was named to the All-Star Five, joined by teammate and tournament most valuable player Frank Ntilikina.

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