Djimde finds delayed, fresh start with SIU

By Aaron Graff

Old ladies can start leaving SIU coach Barry Hinson alone because his team will be taller this year.

Junior center Ibby Djimde is 6-foot-8 and 255 pounds. He transferred to SIU from Illinois after his sophomore year. As a result, he was forced to sit out of competition last season.

This season the roster has five eligible players 6-foot-7 or taller compared to two players last year.

Advertisement

“I’m glad I don’t have to go to Kroger or Schnucks anymore and have all these little old ladies coming up to me and saying, ‘Hey, we need to get some big guys,’” Hinson said.

Hinson is confident Djimde will earn plenty of playing time this season because sophomore forward Bola Olaniyan finds himself in foul trouble often.

“[Djimde] better play a lot,” Hinson said. “Bola is going to get in foul trouble, we’ve had three major injuries in practice and they’re all because of Bola. Bola is going to get in foul trouble. Bola is going to hurt somebody. We have to have somebody that, when Bola gets in foul trouble, comes in to relieve him. I think Ibby is that guy.”

Last season Olaniyan played in 30 games including 12 starts. He averaged 3.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Davante Drinkard averaged 2.0 rebounds in 30 games from the power forward and center spot.

Olaniyan said he is not worried about Djimde taking playing time from him because he is more excited about playing with him.

Hinson said Djimde could potentially even start, and that there is competition among the big men on the squad.

Djimde said he transferred because he did not get a lot of playing time with a new Illinois coaching staff.

Advertisement

“Every time I came to practice, I was ready to go,” Djimde said. “Sometimes life is not fair.”

Djimde said transferring was one of the best decisions he made and he learned a lot of plays last year in practice from the sidelines.

“It’s going to take Ibby a while,” Hinson said. “He hasn’t played basketball for literally two years. It will be a time process for him to get going.”

Hinson said Djimde’s roommate, junior guard Anthony Beane will have to be a leader on the team.

Beane said Djimde is one of the better big men on the team.

“Playing with him is great because he always has a positive attitude,” Beane said. “He’s never one of those guys who puts his head down and pouts. He’s always encouraging his teammates.”

Djimde said he is excited to play again and his body feels as good as it has because of strength training.

“I want to give all I’ve got,” Djimde said.

Aaron Graff can be contacted at [email protected], on Twitter @Aarongraff_DE or 536-3311 ext. 269

Advertisement