Kassoum Yakwe might be the best all-around defender in the EYBL.
That might turns into a certainty if you ask Head Coach Munch Williams. Or any of his PSA Cardinals' teammates, for that matter.
Yakwe is in his second year in the EYBL, and he specializes in defense. The 6-foot-7 junior is averaged 9.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.1 blocks during the EYBL regular season. Yakwe an exceptional defensive rebounder, utilizing his length and athleticism to be first to the ball.
Alec Kinsky caught up with the defensive dynamo, asking him about his EYBL experience, his defensive prowess and his relationship with Kansas-bound Cheick Diallo.
Alec Kinsky: How has the second year of the EYBL been for you?
Kassoum Yakwe: EYBL has been great. I mean, you get to play against high-level players. Just great competition, it’s really helped me develop more. When you play against players as good as you or better can actually help you find your weaknesses and strengths. Then you just need to work to be better than everyone. I’m highly competitive so I like playing against those players who are better. The EYBL is the best place to show what you got as far as being a basketball player.
Alec Kinsky: How was this year compared to last?
Kassoum Yakwe: Last year I didn’t have the chance to play a lot because there we had older players, and that was their last go in the EYBL. I understood all that and I got to learn a lot from those players and my coaches. EYBL is the only place where I’ve seen guys that compete as much as me. It’s all been really cool.
Alec Kinsky: What’s the biggest difference between your play at OSNA and the EYBL?
Kassoum Yakwe: The difference is the EYBL is really high level. On any team you can find 5 or 6 ranked players so it’s very competitive. And you can’t blow out anyone, every game seems like a 3 or 5 point win. Its’ not (OSNA) where we win by 30.
Alec Kinsky: How has your time been at OSNA?
Kassoum Yakwe: I attended OSNA as soon as I came over to the United States. I’ve pretty much got all of my experience there on and off the court.
Alec Kinsky: What do you think you do best on the court right now?
Kassoum Yakwe: My game is defense first, offense second. I’m good at blocking shots and rebounding.
Alec Kinsky: What are you working on?
Kassoum Yakwe: I’m developing more of my outside game and getting my shot right. My shot and ball handling.
Alec Kinsky: You’re very close with OSNA teammates Cheick Diallo. How is your relationship with him?
Kassoum Yakwe: Cheick is like my brother. We knew each other before we came to the US, he’s my best friend. We help each other with everything.
Alec Kinsky: What schools are coming after you the hardest right now?
Kassoum Yakwe: Iowa State, Kansas and St. John’s.
Alec Kinsky: Any favorite subjects in school?
Kassoum Yakwe: I really like math.