In his first season at Oakland Mills, Mamadou Ndiaye quickly emerged as one of the most dominant players in Howard County, a 6-foot-7 forward who can attack the basket, bully defenders in the post, block shots and, in Coach Jon Browne’s words, “jump out of the gym.”

But Ndiaye also knows he still has room to grow. So despite receiving interest last season from several Division I schools — including Maryland and UNLV — Ndiaye recently made the decision to reclassify to the Class of 2016, committing to spend his first postgraduate year at a prep school.

Since — and perhaps, in part, because of — his reclassification, Ndiaye has watched his recruitment blossom. He received offers from George Mason and Seton Hall in a span of two weeks in late April and early May and then picked up another offer from Kansas State last weekend. Ndiaye also holds offers from Howard and Tennessee-Martin.

While his decision to reclassify appears to have boosted his recruiting stock, Ndiaye says he made the decision primarily to allow himself to grow on the court.

“This will give me more time to get more exposure for colleges, but it’s mostly for my development” he said. “At the next level, I see myself as more of a wing player.”

After transferring from Laurel last summer, Ndiaye averaged 19.6 points and 9.8 rebounds for Oakland Mills en route to all-Howard County honors. His season ended on a sour note, however, as he nursed an injured foot through much of the playoffs and then injured his wrist in a 101-63 loss to Potomac in the Maryland 2A South region final. With Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon on hand, Ndiaye played limited minutes and didn’t score in his season finale.

Against undersized county competition, Ndiaye was usually the tallest player on the floor and primarily played in the post. He will need to adjust his style of play at the next level as he transitions to small forward, changing everything from how he plays to how he thinks about the game.

“Just want to have a more consistent perimeter game,” he said. “It’s continuing to develop my wing skills. My strength is driving to the basket, and I’m a decent shooter. I can improve in that and all my ballhandling.”

Ndiaye has already taken the first step in that process this spring during his first season with one of the area’s top AAU programs, Baltimore’s Finest. 

“It’s helped me a lot,” he said. “They give me freedom just to develop and help me get stronger in my weaknesses.”