Saturday, May 12, 2018

DME Academy's Niang Chooses New Look Florida Atlantic

About eight months ago, DME Academy's Madiaw Niang was playing pickup basketball alongside Boca Raton High star Cade Long at Florida Atlantic's gym.

One season, a first team all state nod and several double double performances later, the evolving 6-foot-9 forward pledged to make FAU his hardwood home for four years.

Following a pedestrian junior season at The Conrad Academy in Orlando, the multi-positional Class of 2018 prospect erupted as a two-way presence at DME Academy in Daytona Beach.

"He stepped up to the challenge of being our No.1 option offensively," said DME head coach Dan Mondragon of Niang, who played in Africa and Spain before coming to the U.S. in November of 2016.

"He was able to put some confidence behind the skill-set he already had. He became not only our go-to guy but our best rebounder...A guy who could give you 14 and 10 nightly.

Niang scored 35 points and tore down 14 boards during a win against Downey Christian.

 He put up 33 points against now-defunct Arlington Country Day of Jacksonville. Niang made headlines back on Feb. 2, when he had 23 rebounds in a game. During  a recent performance on the Adidas Gauntlet, Niang turned in an efficient account of himself with 16 points (on 7-of-9 FG) and 11 boards--in 23 minutes.

He transformed from being a fourth option at Conrad, where he struggled to find consistency, to one of the state's quickest rising prospects.

Niang ultimately chose the Owls over Coastal Carolina. In one year he drew offers from Oregon State, Long Beach State, UTEP, Florida International, IPFW, Buffalo, and countless others.

The true draw of Niang's game is his inside-outside presence. A lengthy  wing-forward with a guard's tool-set, Niang's 3-point shot really opens up an offense. He's increased his scoring on the drive and incorporated a supply of stealthy up and under moves. Niang averaged 15.2 points and 10.7 boards in conference play, shooting the rock at a 52 percent clip.

As Conrad buckled and crumbled under a financial firestorm, Niang transferred to Calusa Prep his junior year.

The plot quickly changed when he found his way to DME Academy. With more time devoted to his shot and added emphasis on his defensive reliability, Niang discovered his niche as a leader.

Newly minted FAU head coach Dusty May, an assistant to Mike White during his stay at Florida, has said since the beginning he will tap into the local market.

The Owls have earned recent commitments from Palm Beach County native Michael Forrest and former West Oaks star Richardson Maitre.


Miami Christian guard Neftali Alvarez authored one of the most memorable senior seasons the city has witnessed since Steve Blake was playing for Frank Martin at Miami Senior High.

The well-built Alvarez averaged 27 points and a city-best 11 assists. The Puerto Rico native had 14 double doubles and went for 40+ on three different occasions.

Alvarez turned in a quadruple double during a win against NW Christian and put together a 32-point performance during the Montverde Invitational.

Florida International and FGCU have both been in heavy pursuit of Alvarez, who expressed a desire to stay close to home. He holds offers from Wichita State, Dayton, Akron, Arkansas State, and several others.

Just recently, Alvarez narrowed it down to Fairfield, Florida Gulf Coast University, and Florida International.

New head coach Michael Fly and FGCU may have stumbled on a diamond in the rough caliber recruit in New Orleans native Latrell Jones.

The 6-foot-4 Jones is an extra terrestrial athlete with maniacal finishing ability. After going largely unnoticed most of his post grad season at Believe Prep Academy (TN), Jones has picked up offers from FGCU and Southern  (La.).