Rutgers Head Coach Fred Hill has stressed that sophomore Hamady N'diaye is growing as a player and it's a maturation process with him as he's still young.
Strides were definitely made last night against Cincinnati at the RAC as N'diaye set career highs in points and field goals made, while tying his career highs in blocks and minutes played.
"I know I can score but I just wanted to see how much of it I could pretty much do," Ndiaye said. "I just wanted to see if I really could do it, so today was the day I came onto to court thinking I got to work on my offensive game."
The Senegal native recorded his first collegiate double-double with a career high 14 points on a perfect 5-5 shooting and 10 rebounds.
"He's come a long way," Rutgers Head Coach Fred Hill said. "That's a hell of a game, he did a hell of a job."
It was more of a focus on the offensive end and less on the defensive end that led to his increase in scoring N'diaye said.
Ndiaye, who came into the game ranked second in the Big East and 10th in the country averaging three blocks a game, tied his career high with seven blocks. He had seven blocks against the Bearcats last year at the RAC.
"They were strong and they like every other team tried to get me in foul trouble," he said. "People were just trying to get me in foul trouble and bodied for me to produce, so little mistakes [can get] you get fouled out. I just have to be physical like anybody else and just got to match their intensity and show the energy that I usually have and be smart."
The once three-star recruit out of Stoneridge High School in California was teammates with now USC guard Taj Gibson and has always been known for his defensive presence.
He's held North Carolina's senior forward Tyler Hansbrough to 6-15 shooting and Rider's senior forward and potential NBA first round draft pick Jason Thompson to 12 points on 6-16 shooting. Lousiville sophomore forward Derrick Caracter came into the RAC in January averaging over 22 points per game and left with only eight.
"H just gets better each and every game," Hill said. "He makes every single kid that comes in here work for their numbers."
With the loss, Rutgers is now 2-10 in conference play and near the bottom of the standings. N'diaye said that doesn't matter and eventually this team will turn the corner.
"It doesn't matter where we stand right now," he said. "Those are just stats. I've got great teammates that work hard everyday. We're pretty much a good team, we are pretty young, and soon we will be one of the top teams."
While the team has lost its last four games, N'diaye said the team's psyche won't change.
"We all stay positive," he said. "We just have to understand how or why we're losing games. Losing games isn't easy and nobody likes to lose and once that happens, some days you're going to be down on yourself, you just have to think about it and believe in yourself."
N'Diaye has breakout game
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