Lindsay Whalen's Gophers land Kadiatou Sissoko, a transfer from Syracuse
Sissoko, a 6-foot-2 forward from Paris, was a five-star recruit entering Syracuse and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
By Kent Youngblood Star Tribune JUNE 10, 2019 — 1:57PM
The key, Lindsay Whalen said, was getting her here.
The Gophers women's basketball staff knew Kadiatou Sissoko was in the NCAA's transfer portal. A 6-2 forward with good skill who had been ranked as the 10th best recruit in the nation in the 2018 by ESPN when she committed to Syracuse, Sissoko had another decision to make.
"We called her," Whalen said. "We got her out here. And she liked what she saw."
After a two-day visit last seek, Sissoko, a native of Paris, France, decided to transfer to Minnesota and will be eligible after sitting out the 2019-20 season due to NCAA transfer rules. Since ESPN began ranking recruiting classes in 2007, the highest-ranked recruit to come to Minnesota was Rachel Banham, who was No. 19 in 2011.
"It was a good week," said Whalen, who ended the week with her No. 13 jersey being retired by the Minnesota Lynx. "We have a lot of success when we get kids here for a visit. They see the athletes village, the potential they could be a part of. It's an exciting time. They're hearing our vision. We're trying to build something special, and they see the tools we have to help them."
Sissoko was sold. The five-star recruit played in 22 games with Syracuse last season, missing some time after minor knee surgery. She averaged 3.2 points and 1.8 rebounds. She also has extensive experience playing for France in international competition. She helped France to a sixth-place finish in the 2018 FIBA U20 European championships and she was a member of the U18 French team in 2017. Gophers assistant Carly Thibault-DuDonis watched Sissoko play in international competition last year.
Whalen said she sees Sissoko being used much like the Gophers currently use Destiny Pitts, as a small forward in a smaller lineup. Sissoko has a good handle, is very quick off the dribble. "She has a nice bounce to her step when she cuts," Whalen said. "Her midrange is really good. She's going to be an exciting player for us."
Sissoko will enroll in the fall.
Landing a former five-star recruit should give Whalen's program more momentum going forward.
"The city of Minneapolis was a big draw," Whalen said of Sissoko. "She came to campus, liked what she heard."
Looks like a real nice pick up for Lindsey and her program. My only question is if Kendal Lindeman can leave the Gopher softball program after Thanksgiving and be playing for Florida by Easter, why does Sissokp have to sit out the 2019/2020 season?
Does basketball have the transfer portal like football and softball?
Escape while you can!