There have been eight players out of Senegal that have made it to the NBA, the most notable of which is Bobcats center DeSagana Diop.
But the path out of there is hard — they learn the game on a dirt court at the SEEDS academy. If they catch a coach’s eye and can get the paperwork handled, they can get into a prep academy in the United States, where they have to adjust to a new radically new culture, a new school setting literally an ocean away from their families. All while trying to keep their eye on the basketball prize.
The new documentary Elevate — which opened in New York and Los Angeles this week — shows the challenges four players at the SEEDS academy faced. Anne Buford, sister of Spurs general manager R.C. Buford, directed the movie (funded in part by ESPN films).
Below is the trailer for the film, which looks promising. There is a review up at SLAM. Check it out, keep an eye out at your local art theater and Netflix. This one may be worth watching.
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It makes sense, though. Who cares about this preseason game? If travelling less helps the 66-year-old Popovich stay fresh in the years ahead, that’s well worth it. Plus, it gets Messina a little extra experience. Some day, he might be the head coach.