WESTMINSTER, Colo. (KDVR) — Over a year ago, Belleview Christian opened its doors to then 15-year-old Assane Diop.
“He’s a 6-foot, 10-inch point guard. You don’t find that often,” said Tim Own, Belleview Christian head boys’ basketball coach.
Diop is a rare, raw talent playing the game of basketball over 5,000 miles away from his home of Senegal.
“A lot of times kids come over because we have a strong international program, and they have aunts and uncles here in Colorado,” said Coach Owen. “He got here and didn’t know anybody. It’s a testimony for him because he just fits right in.”
The main reason Assane came to the United States was for his education, making basketball the bonus in the move. It’s ironic though because basketball wasn’t his first love.
“When I first was doing basketball, I wasn’t by myself. Just the people who see me say this guy is tall go play basketball,” said Assane Diop, sophomore at Belleview Christian. “I said no, I don’t want to play basketball. I didn’t like basketball at first, my favorite sport was soccer. Now though, I think basketball is my best sport.”
The stats speak to that as Assane has recorded two quadruple-doubles this season, but his unselfish character is what makes Assane, Assane.
“If I can describe my game, I think it’s just making my teammates better, and my teammates believe in me,” said Diop. “Every time I catch the ball, I know where my teammates are, and I know where to go and where the ball is going.”
His head coach sees that team-first attitude too.
“Assane could go out and score 40 points every night if he wanted to, but he would rather get 10 points and 15 assists,” said Coach Owen. “He is all about getting his team involved and that’s very rare in today’s game.”
He might not have known anyone when he came to the United States, but now Assane has a new family within his teammates.
“Sometimes I think how can this happen?” said Diop. “I didn’t grow up with them, I grew up with other people, but they look like they are my family now. They look like I have known them forever now.”
This Belleview Christian brotherhood is undefeated this year at 10-0 with hopes of winning the 1A State Championship.