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Boubacar Sylla meet David Foster

Foster is the skyscraper with arms on the left

When the Utah Utes come to town on the 27th they will bring 7'3 Center David Foster the tallest player in the Mountain West with them. Height is about the only thing that Foster has in common with the Pokes 7'2 Center Boubacar Sylla.

Now before we get ahead of ourselves I want to say that I like Sylla. Alot of Pokes fans aren't very impressed with him so far but I consider him a very tall diamond in the rough that just needs a lot of polishing. Sylla is still very raw in his development as evidenced by high school stats and watching him play. At Stoneridge Prep Sylla averged only three points and three rebounds per game. Sylla played soccer as a child and didn't pick up his first basketball till age 12. Soccer and basketball use a completely different set of motor skills.

Lets take a quick look at how each player has done so far this year:

David Foster #51 C
2009-10 STATS
6.1 0.7 .000 4.9 4.3 0.2

FG% - .571 FT % - .600
David Foster Stats

Foster has appeared in 16 games this season and is averaging 21 minutes per contest.

Boubacar Sylla #33 C
2009-10 STATS
3.5 0.1 .000 3.5 1.1 0.2

FG% - .469 FT% - .656
Boubacar Sylla Stats

Sylla has appeared in 19 games this season and is averaging 13 minutes each time out.

Neither player is a true force scoring or on the boards. In fact if Sylla played equal minutes as Foster their scoring and rebound output would be nearly identical. The glaring difference is in blocks where Foster is fifth in the nation with 68 blocks a 4.3 average per game. Sylla leads the Pokes with 1.2 blocks a game a difference of nearly three rejections a game.

I don't feel that Sylla will ever be a huge offensive force but what the Pokes need is a defensive force in the paint. Things that Sylla needs to work on: footwork, agility, timing, anticipation. Once he gets for familar with the pace of the college game and defending Sylla could become a force like Foster.

For a big man Sylla has done a nice job on his free throws by hitting 65% this season. A couple layups a game plus some free throws could give him a solid 8-10 points a game. On defense Sylla doesn't realize when someone is attacking the basket behind him and slides over to defend. This instinct and feel for the game can take a while to develop but will pay dividends once it does.

Still doubtful? Well take a look at this player who is a case very similar to Sylla's:

Hamady Ndiaye was one of Sylla's teammates at Stoneridge Prep and he is now a Senior at Rutgers. Ndiaye's stats from his freshman year compare favorably to Sylla's. In fact Boubacar has a slight advantage in nearly every category except for blocks. Each seasons Ndiaye has improved and this year is averaging 9 points, 6 rebounds and nearly 5 blocks a game. If Sylla can follow this same pattern of development he could become quite a force for the Pokes in two years when he is a Senior.

Season Averages

2006-2007 RUTG 13.3 2.7 2.9 .2 .9
.3 1.7 2.0 .500 .500

2007-2008 RUTG 22.7 5.2 5.9 .5 1.6
.4 3.0 3.0 .462 .543

2008-2009 RUTG 23.3 5.6 5.8 .4 1.5
.5 2.2 2.8 .587 .646

2009-2010 RUTG 24.1 9.0 6.1 .2 1.5
.3 4.8 2.6 .582 .639

Now there is no guarentee that Sylla follows the same path as Ndiaye but there is similar. Sylla is a couple inches taller and is heavier than Ndiaye. In fact some weight loss would actually be a great thing for Sylla to increase his agility and reduce pressure on his massive joints.