Ibrahim Doumbia, a 6-foot-8 forward from Miami Country Day School (FL) who is signed to the University of South Carolina and the first cousin of Cheick Diallo (NBA), looked spectacular this past weekend at the Phenom Hoops Joe Miller Invitational (Wilmington, NC). In his first game against Kinston (NC), he recorded 25 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 blocks. In his second game against Word of God (NC), he scored 15 points and grabbed 4 rebounds against their center, Brandon Huffman who is signed to UNC–Chapel Hill. On the third day against Lincoln Charter (NC), he finished the game with 25 points and finally on the last day he scored 35 points on 6 made threes against a very talented Hamilton Heights (TN) team. But aside from his impressive performances, Phenom Hoops had a chance to speak with the future Gamecock on his thoughts on the event and his future at South Carolina.
Kim: What are some of your thoughts on this event and how do you think you and your team played?
Doumbia: “For me, I think I played bad because I turned the ball over a lot because of my broken finger but that’s not an excuse. We played okay… we are going to get better tomorrow and the next upcoming days. This tournament is really good. Last year we went to the Bojangles (Bash) and since then this is our first trip going out of Florida and this is really big for us and we are very excited.”
Kim: For the people that don’t know your game, how would you describe it?
Doumbia: “For me, I just try to help my team get the win. I just come out with energy and most of my guys follow me because they believe in me and I believe in them. I have to come out rebounding, blocking shots, playing defense, and when they count on me making shots I have to make them. I have to basically do everything.”
Kim: What are some of the things you want to work on to improve your overall game?
Doumbia: “I want to work a lot on my defense because I want to be able to guard every position. Right now, I can guard centers because when I was younger I played that position but now that I am guarding the three/four position(s); I want to have the ability to guard point guards because when I get to South Carolina, they are going to want me to guard everybody. I also want to work on my handling (ball-handling) because it is not an excuse just because my finger is broken. I have to keep going hard so I’m going to work a lot on that and more on my decision making.”
Kim: How did you come to the conclusion that South Carolina is the best option for you?
Doumbia: “When I was in the 9th grade, someone told me that Frank Martin (South Carolina) is going to come to watch me play at the Chick-fil-A Classic and at that time I basically had two offers (Baylor & UTEP). So he came and he didn’t offer me that time but then I decided to changed schools. I went from ACD (Arlington Country Day) to Miami Country Day because I wanted to be more challenged. So when I went there, Coach Hugo (De La Rose – head coach of Miami Country Day School) taught me a lot of things like where to be on the floor because at the time, I was a center and I didn’t know anything about basketball and I still don’t know anything (laughs)… I am learning the game. So then last year, South Carolina offered me after they watched all of my games at the Bojangles Bash. Frank Martin is really happy for me because of the energy I bring to the floor and because I play hard.”
Kim: South Carolina has a strong class coming in with you, David Beatty, Jason Cudd, and Felipe Haase. How is your relationship like with those guys right now and how do you think you’ll do as a team next year?
Doumbia: “I went on a visit with Jason and he is really a funny guy. I spoke with him when I committed and I remember him sending me a message telling me “congrats”. Felipe is from Miami and we actually played against him and they beat us by like 7 points I think and he played well. For David, I don’t have a relationship with him yet but it’s going to be fine because I can get along with anybody.”
Kim: What are some of your goals going into South Carolina?
Doumbia: “My goal is to work on my defense, my ball handing, and just getting tougher because it’s not going to be easy; it’s going to be hard. Frank (Martin) is very tough and that’s why I went there because he is going to look at my face and tell me the truth.”
Kim: Keep working man; I like your game.
Doumbia: “Thanks – I really appreciate it.”