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While the Saluki basketball team will be graduating six seniors after this season, there is plenty more on the way with four freshmen redshirting this season.  Sekou Dembele is one of those players.

Dembele is a native of Mali and played for the U19 National Team before coming to the United States to play for both Park Central Christian High School of Birmingham, Alabama and the Gateway Program on the AAU circuit.

“It’s really hard,” Dembele says of being away from his home. “I try not to think about it, but it’s important [to me].”

When SIU added Dembele to the roster last August, Coach Barry Hinson was quick to make a comparison to a Saluki legend: Jermaine Dearman.

“He reminds me of Dearman in the way that he plays and how physical he is. He’s not greatly offensively skilled, which reminds me of Dearman – in a lot ways,” Hinson said, cracking a smile.

Dembele appreciated the compliment.

“That’s a blessing for me,” Dembele says.  “He’s a great part of SIU basketball.  Barry comparing to me, that’s a good job [on my part].”

Dembele won’t be playing this season but will be seen cheering his team on  from the bench, wearing the #2 jersey.

Hear the entire interview here


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