Home is where the bond is

Home is where the bond is

By Daniel Valle, @ddvalle92

Of the four African-born players on the SIU men’s basketball team, only one is a U.S. citizen.

Junior guard Leo Vincent, who was born in Liberia, said he values his roots.

“I’m very comfortable with my nationality and where I’m from,” he said.


Vincent said his parents are of African decent. Vincent’s mother, Beatrice, is a psychiatric nurse and left Liberia after Vincent’s birth. 

However, Liberia is not Vincent’s hometown on the roster. Instead, it is Pensalem, Pa. In Pennsylvania, he earned all-conference honors at Bensalem High School during his senior year in which he averaged 17 points a game.

Vincent played Division I basketball for one season at Sacred Heart College.

He transferred to Harcum College after playing six games, where he was second on the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game. He led Harcum to a 28-4 record and a No. 9 ranking in the National Junior College Athletics Association poll.

Vincent transferred to SIU this season as one of nine new players on the roster.

“I didn’t have to really adjust too much,” he said. “I just give a lot of credit to the guys who were already here, helping us acclimate to [campus].”

Vincent said senior center Ibby Djimde helped him adjust. Djimde and Vincent were roommates on the most recent road trip to Corpus Christi, Texas. 


Djimde, who was surprised to learn Vincent was also born in Africa, said they and other international players share a bond.

“He loves to dance a little bit,” Djimde said while demonstrating the Dabbin’ Dance routine. “After every practice we joke around, and when we go to road trips we joke around.”

However, Vincent is all business on the court. This season, he is nine-of-21 shooting three-pointers and 52 percent from the field in seven games off the bench.

Vincent said this opportunity wouldn’t have happened without his mother’s sacrifice.

“She’s the hardest working woman I know,” he said. “That’s why I work as hard as I do every day. It’s because of her.”

Daniel Valle can be reached at [email protected] or at 453-6541