By Jarrod Harris
Times West Virginian
The final piece of the puzzle has been added for Jerrod Calhoun and the Fairmont State Fighting Falcon basketball team.
The Falcons landed, 6-9, 220-pound, Mamadou Datt, a transfer from Duquesne.
“We’re extremely excited to welcome Mamadou Datt into our program,” Fairmont State’s head coach Calhoun said. “He’s extremely long and athletic. He can run the floor; he can block shots; he can score the ball inside — he just gives us that presence that we don’t have.”
The upcoming junior has an NBA wing-span of seven feet. With his ability to reach, grab and fight, it allows for offensive and defensive rebounds to come in clusters.
In the 13 games that he played last year for the Dukes, Datt tallied 19 defensive rebounds and six offensive.
Not only did he provide spark in the rebounding game, but he also brought the ability to post up and provide some crucial points in the paint.
This is where he averaged 1.3 points per game.
“He played close to 10 minutes a game, so he has a lot of experience with playing against high-level competition,” Calhoun said.
Since the Falcons graduated their 6-9 big man, Isaiah Hill, Calhoun needed to find a prospect that could fill the 12.4 points and the 6.6 rebounds per game.
Calhoun needed quality, and that’s what he got.
“It’s very, very hard to find big men that have that kind of experience,” Calhoun said. “You have to get a good blend, and I think we have a good enough nucleus coming back that have a lot of experience, and then you throw in Mike Davis from Northern Illinois and you thrown Mamadou in from Duquesne, you have a very good mix. The thing that we look for is a Division I transfer with multiple years.”
Looking for multiple Division I recruits is exactly what Calhoun accomplished.
Just this season alone, Calhoun signed Shammgod Wells, Caleb Davis, Travon Horton and now, Datt.
After putting together one of the most prestigious recruiting classes since Joe Retton’s years as head coach, Calhoun is thrilled to mold a team of depth and talent.
“The difference between this year and last year’s team is we have more depth,” Calhoun said. “I feel very confident that this year we’ll be able to play 10-12 guys. We will play a lot faster. We will play more guys, and we’re looking to really press 30-35 minutes a game. We have so many options. We have great guard play, and now with the addition of Mamadou — with him and Coop (Brendan Cooper) on the front line, we have two unbelievable athletes that can get up and down (the court). We’re going to play a lot of guys and play fast.”
Having Datt on the court with the likes of Cooper, who averaged nearly 13 points a game and seven rebounds; Chase Morgan, who drilled threes left and right, while tallying 46 in the season; Stevie Browning, who added 24 three-pointers, and seven points per contest; and youngsters in Ke’Chaun Lewis, Tommy Scales and Thomas Wimbush, the Falcon’s will feature both aspects of the basketball spectrum.
They won’t only have to stand back and drill three-pointers, but they can also run and gun.
This type of element could sell the stands out at the Joe Retton Arena come November.
“Last year, we got a very late start with recruiting, and this year, we’re much, much more ahead of the game,” Calhoun said, “When you win and you have some success and you draw the big crowds, kids hear that and want to be a part of it.”
Email Jarrod Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @JarrodHarrisTWV.