WHITE PLAINS, NY --Monroe College has a thriving international student population of 700. One former graduate, Marurice Ndour, a native of Senegal, used the College as a springboard to make his American dream a reality.
Ndour was born in Thies, Senegal, but is a resident of the world. He speaks five languages, has lived on three continents and has a well-rounded education. The Mustangs alumnus not only excelled in the classroom, but tore up the basketball court with Monroe from 2011-13. He is currently starring in the NBA Summer League with the Knicks. His coach at Monroe, current head coach Jeff Brustad, spoke about the type of person Ndour was, both on and off the court: "He was a highly motivated player for us. He worked hard in the classroom and on the court." Brustad lamented, "In fact, he would always seek out the coaches in order to get better."
In two seasons with Monroe, Ndour was a two-time NJCAA All-Region selection and finished his career with 848 points, placing him eighth on the all-time Mustang scoring list. He averaged 9.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game as a freshman in 2011–12, and 16.2 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game as a sophomore in 2012–13.
Ndour, a person who was noticeably different on and off the court, eschewed established coaches like Bob Huggins and Steve Lavin and chose instead, a pint-sized school from a basketball perspective, Ohio University. He was a standout for the Bobcats for two seasons and landed in the NBA Summer League after signing with the Knicks as a free agent.
Ending up in the NBA is a lifelong dream for many young men, what makes Maurice's story so unique is the story behind it. No one who dreams of reaching the top pictured a journey through junior college and then a school in the college hoops wasteland. But Coach Brustad wasn't all that surprised by the route Ndour took to reach the Knights. "Maurice was about relationships. He cared about people. I guess being a resident of the world had something to do with that. Being exposed to so much teaches you perspective."
No doubt that the two years Ndour spent in New Rochelle shaped his perspective. He reflected on his time at Monroe and tied that into his time with the Knicks. "Monroe was great. It was competitive and fun. Coach let us play our game. Whether we were winning or losing we kept playing our style." Ndour compared that to his time with the Knicks:
"I did better than I thought. I never thought I would be a starter. But (like Monroe) I never felt overmatched. It is about competing. I played my game and whatever happened happened." He added, "Monore was about relationships for me. At the end of the day, it's about people."
Ndour isn't assured a place with the Knicks, but he has made the most of his opportunity to showcase his skills. Perhaps his best performance came in a July matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers. In that contest, the 6-8 forward scored a team-best 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting. His stellar play caught the eye of head coach, Derek Fisher, who said, "I think Maurice is doing what players are supposed to do and focus on the part they can control and that's performing well. If we don't do it (invite him to camp), somebody will the way he is playing."
Monroe College prides itself on providing opportunities for domestic and international students to go to college and achieve their goals. For at least one alumnus, that goal is the NBA and Ndour is on his way.