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2014 Preseason MAC Basketball Top 25: #3 F Maurice Ndour, Ohio Bobcats

Every day from now until the beginning of he season we'll be counting down the top 25 players in the MAC for the upcoming season. Today we have #3: Maurice Ndour from Ohio University

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

Maurice Ndour was born in Senegal, went to high school in Japan, and plays basketball for Ohio University. It has been a long, incredible journey for the Bobcats' 6-foot-9 forward, who travelled the world and learned five languages in his quest to play basketball. Nobody on this list has had a story as amazing as Ndour's.

Few can match Ndour skill-wise as well. Ndour attended high school in Japan and played ball at Monroe College as an undergrad. These moves would have been completely unnecessary if Ndour wasn't a fantastic player. Fortunately, he is.

For Saul Phillips' first year as head coach of the Ohio Bobcats to be a success, he will need to depend on a few key upperclassmen, and no player in green and white will be more important than Maurice Ndour. He's used to frequent change, but Phillips will be his second coach in two years in Athens. Fortunately, Phillips has already won his players over, including Mo.

"As soon as he got here on day one, it was just so smooth, and the atmosphere was great. When you come here, you're ready to practice," Ndour said about Phillips' first few months. "It's an environment where you're having fun while playing basketball. We're learning a lot from him, he knows basketball."

When you first see Maurice Ndour, it's obvious that he's a basketball player. He seems so tall that it's almost a surprise that he's "only" 6-foot-9, and at 200 pounds, he isn't easy to push around in the paint. His wide wingspan helps him gobble up rebounds, and his large hands help him keep a firm grip on the basketball when he is throwing down dunks. A player of his height seems tailor-made for post play, but Ndour is far more than a one trick pony. His mid range jump shot is practically indefensible, and he isn't afraid shoot from beyond the arch. Ndour said he has particularly worked hard on his ballhandling this summer to complete his game.

This summer, Ndour had the opportunity to improve his game in a way that no one else in the MAC could: at the FIBA World Cup. Representing his native country of Senegal, Ndour spent his vacation months facing the best talent that the world had to offer.

"It was great. I think you always learn something playing against guys that are better than you and already in the pros. I learned to be more poised on offense, and I think the game will be much easier this season," Ndour said.

Given the success the Ndour has found on the court, it is hard to believe that his basketball career will end in the spring. He's undoubtedly one of the most talented players in the MAC, as his inclusion on the preseason All-MAC team demonstrates. A strong season would certainly grab the attention of NBA teams and certainly teams overseas, who can always use a player like Maurice. But when asked about what he wanted to accomplish this season, Ndour said nothing about personal achievements. He had only one goal in mind.

"That I took my team to a national championship, that would be my ultimate goal. I would be happy if we could accomplish that this year."

To win the national title would be a long journey indeed for the Ohio Bobcats. But if anyone in the MAC knows what it takes to go the distance, it's Maurice Ndour.