Dieng remains focused on present

University of Louisville junior Gorgui Dieng will participate in Saturday's Senior Day activities prior to the Cardinals final regular season game against Notre Dame at the KFC Yum! Center. On Friday, Dieng, who may leave a year early for the NBA, said his focus remains on the current season and the upcoming post season tournaments.

When University of Louisville junior Gorgui Dieng arrived on campus three years ago he spoke little english and was relatively new to the game of basketball. Three seasons later, the Senegal native speaks english fluently and has developed into a potential NBA Draft first-round selection.

Due to chance that he may head to the professional league a year early, Dieng will join seniors Peyton Siva and Mike Marra for Senior Day festivities prior to Louisville's final regular season contest against Notre Dame at the KFC Yum! Center on Saturday afternoon.

"I told him that I want to honor him because I think he's a first-round draft pick," Pitino told the media on Thursday. "I'm not pushing him out the door. It's not a decision I am making. It's not a decision he's making. It's a decision we let the pros make."

Dieng, who appreciates college life and is no rush to leave it behind, trusts Pitino to guide to the proper choice.

"He's a guy that I trust," said Dieng. "I know where he picked me up from and where I am today, so he played a big role in my life."

Following a freshman season that saw him average 5.7 points and 4.4 rebounds, Dieng began showing signs of his NBA potential. Last season, he established a new single season record with 128 blocks, which was best in the Big East. He followed his All-Big East Tournament performance with continued impressive play in the NCAA Tournament. While helping lead the Cardinals to the 2012 NCAA Final Four, Dieng was named to the West Regional All-Tournament team.

Playing in the NBA has been a long dream for Dieng.

"I've always wanted to play in the NBA, even when I wasn't taking basketball so serious," he said.

However, while his dream of playing professional basketball is closer to becoming a reality, Dieng, who has recorded 20 career double-doubles, remains in no rush to make the jump.

"I'm not going anywhere yet," he told the media on Friday afternoon. "We are moving forward to fast. The NBA is a place that I want to go, but that's not my main goal. My main goal isn't just to get there, but to stay there for 10-15 years. It's not something that we need to worry about right now."

For Dieng, his focus remains squarely in the present and achieving the goals of this season.

"We have more important things to worry about now," he continued. "I have a lot of goals that I have to reach before I go to the NBA. I really want to win the Big East and Big East tournament, [go back to] the Final Four and I really want to win the national championship."

A Louisville victory on Saturday would provide at least a share of the Big East regular season title.

The Senior Day festivities will begin at approximately 3:45pm on Saturday afternoon, with tip-off against the Irish set for 4:05.


Cardinal Authority Top Stories