Former SFU men’s basketball guard Sango Niang has signed a professional contract with the Estudiantes Concordia of the Liga Nacional de Básquet (National Basketball League), the top Argentinian basketball league.
“It feels great, it’s everything I’ve been playing for, and I feel like all the hard work I put in was worth it,” said Niang over the phone. “It was a nerve-wracking experience, it was my first time being a free agent, which means you miss school. I got the text message at 3 a.m. telling me I got the offer, and from there it just all went uphill.”
Niang led the Great Northwest Conference (GNAC) in points scored last season with 587 points in 26 games for an average of 22.6 points per game. He also led the conference in assists, and notching the eighth-most assists in the entire NCAA Division II.
He spent two years at SFU, having transferred from Chaffey Community College in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
Born in Paris, France, Niang was a late bloomer, having only started playing the sport in his freshman year in high school. Missing the cut in his sophomore year, Niang made the team his junior and senior years, but didn’t get much playing time. At Chaffey, he was initially told to redshirt; however, after a 27 point pre-season game, he was made a starting point guard.
Since then, Niang has proven himself as a top-tier player at the collegiate level, and has held his own against NBA stars in the Drew League.
Now, Niang will take his talents to Concordia, Argentina, a city of nearly 160,000 people on the Argentina-Uruguay border. Last year, the Estudiantes made the playoffs, but were eliminated before the finals. He is expected to be the team’s starting point guard, despite his youth and height.
“My role is to be the starting point guard, play 30-plus minutes, and they said I have a huge responsibility to get wins,” he said. “They said it’s a gamble [to take me] because I’m young, 21 years old, and our team’s average age is 29, our team’s average height is 6’7 [Niang is 6’0] all they said is that they are putting a lot of faith in me and they trust that I can get the program some wins.”
The team plays its first game Wednesday, September 23. Niang will be joining a team already midway through the preseason, leaving home to join them tomorrow.
“Training camp has already started,” he explained.
“Honestly, my goal is to improve from last year, get more wins, and put my foot in the door for professional basketball, and hopefully everything I did in college can translate and I will make a big impact on this team.”