Athleticism, Competitive Fire Strengths for West Virginia Commit Sagaba Konate

Sagaba Konate is one of five brothers from Mali who came to the U.S. to further both their educations and their basketball careers. He's the best of the bunch so far, and is an extremely good fit for West Virginia, according to his "co-parent", Jeff Kollar.

Kollar, who has hosted five Konate brothers in the U.S. over the years, sees differences in Sagaba from his siblings, who are also fine players. 

"His athleticism is through the roof," said Kollar, who has helped all five (part of a family of 14)  come to the U.S. from Mali, where their parents still live. "He has a college body right now at 6-8 and 240 pounds.  And under Bob Huggins it's only going to get better. In a couple of years he's going to look like Devin Williams does now. I do wonder where he got his build from, because his brothers are much more slender from the waist down. Sagaba is thick, and he's really strong."

Kollar, who has seen Konate's older brothers go on to college playing careers, believes that Konate is well-suited for the rigors of the Big 12 conference.

"He has good hands and feet, and he carries a chip on his shoulder when it comes to rebounding and competing. He's an instinctive offensive rebounder, and when he gets it he doesn't just want to lay it back up. He wants to dunk it on you. He fits perfectly in the WVU system. He sees it as a perfect place for him, and in Huggins' offensive and defensive scheme."

An accomplished shot blocker and rebounder, Konate shows good timing and big hops, which make him tough at the rim. He also thrives in the congested defensive areas in the lane, and uses his body well to eat up space and deny offensive players their desired position.

Despite arriving in the U.S. just a little over a year ago, Konate speaks three languages (Bambara, French and English) and is "improving his English all the time", according to Kollar. He is interested in engineering or international business majors, and expects to have no trouble qualifying.

One of the biggest challenges for Konate was in picking a school, and doing so with his parents so far away. Again, Kollar was instrumental, as he helped guide the recent immigrant through the process.

"We sat down when it was time to narrow schools down and figured out who was a goof fit for him academically, socially and for basketball," Kollar said. "His older brother Ibrahim had been through the process, so he was involved too. It came down to a final five of Pitt, Minnesota, Wichita State Purdue and West Virginia, and after he went through them I could see it was WVU. I could see it in his eyes and they way he talked about the school. WVU and bob Huggins, you can't get muchh better than that."


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