Mounir Hima takes a big leap from Duquesne of the Atlantic 10 to the Syracuse Orange of the ACC. Will the move work out for both sides?
The transfer portal has been very interesting regarding the center position. Many bigs listed at 6’10 or taller who have entered the portal haven ended up at spots somewhat unexpected at the high-major level, despite putting up limited stats at their former respective stops. And the latest example is Syracuse Basketball landing Mounir Hima, a redshirt freshman who averaged 1.9 ppg and 2.8 rpg this past season.
But that doesn’t tell the whole story. The Niger native didn’t play at all as a true freshman and wasn’t expected to play much for Duquense this past season. However, injuries to both Austin Rotroff and RJ Gunn decimated the frontcourt to where Hima had to get minutes. And in the first few games, it was rough.
Hima, who is still fairly new to the game and dealt with injuries in high school that limited his development, looked incredibly raw. On offense, he had little clue where to go and on defense, Hima jumped at every single shot fake that took him out of position in the paint. But after a few games and more consistent playing time, the 6’11 center became much more comfortable on the court, particularly on the defensive end.
The former Duke had a season-high nine points against Saint Bonaventure, as well as 10 rebounds against Davidson. His interior defense and rebounding became much better in the final month of the season as well and looked like a scholarship player. that can contribute. And most importantly, Hima always played hard and showed great effort and with a more polished game could really became an impact player at his next stop.
It will be interesting to see how Hima fits in Syracuse’s zone system, which requires great footwork and decision-making. He has the ability and his last month at Duquesne shows promise. And the good news is that Jesse Edwards is the clear starter at the five-spot and will play around 30 mpg. In the best-case scenario, Hima can replace Frank Anselem’s production off the bench and be an even better defensive option for the team.
At the start of this past season, there was little chance that Hima would be someone an ACC program would be interested in. But he took advantaged of the opportunity and now will be playing for Syracuse Basketball next year. It’s a great story for the young man and now has the chance to be on a national stage and gives the Orange some depth to work with inside.