Far from home: Gulf Coast women’s basketball player comes to team from Senegal

Local Sports

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) – Many players on the Gulf Coast women’s basketball team are from the United States, but one is not.

Ndeye Ciss is almost 5,000 miles away from her home country of Senegal, located in Africa, and she came to the U.S. to play basketball.

“Her to adjust to the physicality and speed of the American game has been a challenge, but her athleticism is off the charts, her work ethic and attitude you couldn’t ask for anything better,” Gulf Coast head women’s basketball coach Cayla Petree said. “I’ve always admired international players because anyone who’s willing to move across the world to chase their dream is serious about it.”

For Ciss, the language barrier was difficult because French is her native language. However, the sophomore did have some help with that last year.

“Like two French girls that were my teammates were helping me,” Ciss said. “Sometime if I don’t understand something she would explain in French and that helped me too.”

However, the language barrier wasn’t the only thing she had to overcome. The style of play is also a little bit different than what she’s used to back home.

“Overseas, it’s a lot of face and attack. In America, it’s brute. She’s got to battle with some big guys from Chipola and Northwest Florida and all that so she’s not used to getting fouled when it’s not called a foul. So she’s adjusting to that,” Petree said.

Even with all the differences, the language of basketball is something that she thinks is universally understood.

“Most coach, they talk the same language in basketball, it’s almost the same,” Ciss said.

While Ciss loves playing for Gulf Coast, she does miss one thing about home.

“I miss my family a lot, I miss my mom, my sister, I miss them a lot,” Ciss said.

Gulf Coast takes on Chipola on Wednesday night.

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