Home » Columns » Currently Reading:

For Georges Niang, a path to the NBA may not include the draft

May 16, 2016 Columns No Comments

In a season full of senior stars, Georges Niang is one who might have seemed an unlikely one once upon a time. His is a story of how intangibles supplement talent and physical gifts and bring someone a long way.

As a high schooler, Niang won – a lot. He played for the powerful BABC program, long the premier travel program in New England, and they rarely lost games while winning a Nike EYBL title and an AAU national championship during his time. It didn’t stop there, as his teams at the Tilton School won four straight NEPSAC Class AA titles and nearly won a fifth, and also won a National Prep Championship. He was no small part of all of those teams, scoring over 2,300 points at Tilton and being a constant presence for BABC, though more of a glue guy on the latter for a good deal of his career.

It wasn’t just on the court that he made his mark; he was also student body president at Tilton and is one of the best kids in college basketball. He was the total package.

Still, until well into his junior year in high school, he had a lot of mid-major offers. Plenty weren’t sure he could play as a high-major given that he lacks athleticism; he was seen as more of an over-achiever, one who got the most out of his body and knew who he was. He was a late bloomer, but also one not loaded with upside as he was quite mature physically. That’s not to say he couldn’t improve physically, as he did, and is now in the best shape of his life.

Niang is now looking ahead to the NBA Draft next month, as well as past that. His college career was one of productivity and accomplishment, and he finishes with some pretty good career numbers that show what he is capable of. Niang finishes his career with over 2,200 points, 700 rebounds and 400 assists, demonstrating how he impacted games in multiple ways. He’s second on the Big 12’s career scoring list in conference games, in a conference that has had plenty of great players. That production continued right up to the end, as this March he became the first player in NCAA Tournament history to have at least 25 points, five rebounds and three assists in three straight games.

If nothing else, he will go down as a great college player, regardless of what he does professionally. If he never makes the NBA, he would be one more to have a great college career not translate into an NBA career as the game is different. He was never a sure-fire NBA prospect, which is one reason he ended up being a four-year player, and ultimately a decorated one at that.

The same things that led to his recruitment taking off late will also be questions as far as his NBA potential – namely, his conditioning, plus he’s not athletic. Athleticism isn’t everything, especially at his position of power forward, but it does matter. It matters more defensively than offensively, because the question at higher levels – from high school to college and college to the pros – is more about who one guards than where one plays at the offensive end.

In the right offense, Niang can certainly help a team. His versatility and basketball I.Q. are big selling points, as are his intangibles, which are off the charts. His athletic limitations hurt him as concerns the draft, but there’s no reason to think he won’t get a chance to earn a roster spot through a summer league and then training camp. The NBA Draft is more about upside than production, and Niang has much more of the latter than the former.

Some see Niang as perfect for playing overseas given his skill set. That may well happen, and he could make good money there and then work to get an NBA team to want him after he produces more. But first, he should at least get a chance stateside to earn a training camp invite via a summer league if he doesn’t get drafted.

Niang stayed the course in college and is ready to work his way on to a professional roster the same way he worked his way to a Big 12 scholarship and productive career. Whether that ends up being in the NBA or another league, in North American or elsewhere, remains to be seen. If he makes it to the NBA, it may not come via the most direct journey, and it might involve a circuitous route. With his resume thus far, do you doubt him at this point?

Comment on this Article:







Subscribe to Hoopville

Enter your email address to subscribe to Hoopville

Advertisement


Hoopville Archives

College Basketball Tonight

We hope you enjoyed COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT during the 2016 NCAA Tournament. COLLEGE BASKETBALL TONIGHT is a comprehensive look at the NCAA Tournament hosted by veteran college basketball broadcaster Ted Sarandis, along with co-hosts Mike Jarvis and Terry O'Connor, both former Division I coaches. It also included many great guests, including Hoopville's own Phil Kasiecki.

The show aired on AM 710 WOR in New York City on Sunday evenings starting with Selection Sunday and running through the NCAA Tournament.

Here are links to the shows:

March 13, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 20, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

March 27, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

April 3, 2016 - First hour | Second hour

Everybody Needs a Head Coach

Former college basketball coach Mike Jarvis has a new book out, Everybody Needs a Head Coach.

"As you read this book, I hope that Coach Jarvis' experiences inspire you to find your purpose in life."
-Patrick Ewing, NBA Hall of Fame center

"Mike Jarvis' is one of my special friends. I am so pleased that he has taken the time to write this fabulous book."
-Mike Krzyzewski, Five-time NCAA championship head coach, Duke Blue Devils

"In reading this book, I can see that Mike hasn't lost his edge or his purpose. Readers should take a look at what he has to say."
-Jim Calhoun, Three-time NCAA champion, UConn Men's basketball

Review on Hoopville coming soon!

Coaching Changes and NBA Draft Early Entrants

The coaching carousel is moving. Keep track of the latest coaching changes right here on Hoopville.

Also, keep track of players who have declared early for the NBA Draft.

Hoopville Podcasts

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 18, 2018

January 18, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about big road wins for a few teams, including a couple of bluebloods that looked destined for losses, as well as an unsettled Big Ten beyond one team, an SEC where you shouldn’t pay attention to bracketologists, and the problems with a proposed earlier start to the college basketball season.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about several big pieces of news away from game play, one of which puts a lot in perspective. We also talk about the lack of dominant teams and how this has shown up in the results, especially this past weekend.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – January 4, 2018

January 4, 2018 by

In our latest podcast, we start with a big game in the Big East, then move on to the sudden lack of undefeated teams, a big injury in the ACC, and a powerhouse that looks vulnerable in a stacked conference they have long ruled.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – December 8, 2017

December 8, 2017 by

In our latest podcast, we talk about a bizarre finish to an early-season tournament game, the Pac-12’s early struggles, Florida teams going in different directions and two northeast teams trending less relevant even as they excite fans at a famous arena.

Talking Hoops With Ted Sarandis – November 22, 2017

November 22, 2017 by

In our pre-Thanksgiving podcast, we look at a key injury that is likely to be devastating for his team and an under-the-radar 4-0 week, then move on to some early SEC impressions and a couple of teams that just continue to win.

Phil Kasiecki on Twitter

Recruiting Coverage

Lincoln captures Hamilton Park title

August 15, 2017 by

For the first time, a public school won the Hamilton Park Summer League, and they were led by a big effort from a junior point guard in the title game.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Boston Shootout

June 12, 2017 by

Some news and notes coming from the second and final day of action at the 2017 Boston Shootout, where the host program provided plenty of talent, but so did a program that produced a team that beat them.

Notes from a day at the 2017 Northeast Hoops Festival

April 11, 2017 by

The Northeast Hoops Festival helped bring in the new spring travel season in New England, and we have notes from some of Saturday’s action.

2016 Boston Back to School Showcase notes

September 12, 2016 by

We look back at the 2016 Boston Back to School Showcase, where a couple of Boston City League teams were among the most impressive on the day.

2016 Hoopville Spring Finale championship recap

June 28, 2016 by

We look back at the championship games of the 2016 Hoopville Spring Finale, which had a big local flavor as one might have expected.