Busting Brackets

SWAC Basketball: Tidjiane Dioumassi's journey from Paris, France to the Bluff of Southern University.

Nov 28, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Southern Jaguars guard Tidjiane Dioumassi (22) during the
Nov 28, 2023; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Southern Jaguars guard Tidjiane Dioumassi (22) during the / Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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How's everyone doing? It's your friendly neighborhood tour guide around the SWAC, CWells. I love college basketball and since you are reading this, you do as well. One of the greatest things about college basketball is that there are tons of interesting and sometimes odd stories. When you look at the lower Division I teams you'll find teams that have to search everywhere to find that diamond in the rough.

And one of those players is Southern's Tidjiane Dioumassi. I first became aware of him when he committed to Southern under new coach Kevin Johnson. Realizing that there's a player from France on the team will always spark interest. And since I'm inquisitive, I wanted to know more about him.

Standing 6’4” tall and weighing 200 pounds, Dioumassi has been a key contributor to the first-place Jaguars. Playing point guard is a tough position, it's even more difficult when you're leading a team of 11 new players and a new head coach. But Doumassi has handled it well leading the SWAC with 5.1 assists per game (5.7 apg in SWAC play). He also contributes 9.8 points per game and 3.8 rebounds per game (10.8 ppg and 4 rpg in SWAC play). One of the top reasons I had for creating my platform is being able to shine some light on SWAC athletes, so let's get to know Tidjiane Dioumassi.

CW: Let's start at the beginning, when did you start playing basketball?

TD: I started playing structured basketball around 14-15 years old. My dad and my older brother both played basketball so i have always been around it and one day i just started playing one on one against my brother and just fell in love with the game.  

CW: Can you describe the basketball scene in France? How popular is basketball there? 

TD: It might not be a top sport in France, it is still standing behind soccer, tennis and rugby. But basketball has grown in popularity over the years. The sport has a dedicated following, with basketball courts in many neighborhoods and a growing number of young players participating in the sport. Especially in Paris where we are known as street hoopers.The French basketball scene includes professional leagues like LNB Pro A currently known as Betclic Élite, and Pro B, as well as a strong national team. I’ll say that compared to the US, in France the game is more fundamentally sound and slower. 

CW: When did you come to the US?

TD: I came to the US to play college basketball in 2021.

CW: Let's talk about your college career. How was your initial recruiting process? Did you receive many offers?

TD: I mean to be honest, I was at the bottom of the chain, no offers, no calls, no interest, I talked to Davidson University, but it didn’t lead anywhere and besides that I had nothing as a senior. One juco was recruiting my teammates from a prep school team Thetford Academy in Canada. They needed a guard and they had a free spot so they took a chance on me after seeing me pass the ball to my teammate multiple times in his highlight tape.