More of a human interest story than anything, but a good one. Ba's life has been considerably more interesting than mine, in the bad way.
I found this little exchange pretty shocking:
Twenty-five college coaches filled Bridgton's Memorial Gymnasium on a September afternoon in 2001 to watch the team work out. Among them was Charles Ramsey, the Michigan assistant coach who needed a big man.Um... nice to have a guy like Ba getting an education, but when his high school coach says "you've got to be kidding me" when you mention you think you might offer him, uh... well, uh. I'm just saying that's kind of disturbing. How much influence does Ramsey have here? We offered a marginal top-150 guy, Jerrett Smith, as a sophomore, and he accepted. I'm not saying that Smith doesn't deserve an offer, but he is not the kind of guy you offer after two years of high school. Better to wait and see how things develop. Compare that to the hockey program: when they offer and accept a commitment that early, it's someone like Jack Johnson or Tristin Llewellyn, the bluest of blue-chippahs.
"I kind of like Amadou," Ramsey told Lesure afterward.
"You've got to be kidding me," Lesure said.
Ramsey left and Lesure figured that was the last he'd hear from Michigan. Amadou, who averaged seven points and seven rebounds per game at Grissom, was a borderline Division I prospect. But Ramsey called back. Then Lesure sat down with Amadou at his dorm's dining room table.
"If you want to be a three-year starter or a captain, Michigan ain't the place," Lesure said.
Lesure stopped for a minute. He knew Amadou's high school coaches were concerned the basketball at Michigan would be over his head.
"I want you to think about that," Lesure said.
The next day Amadou told Lesure he wanted to go to Michigan. Lesure told him to sign the letter of intent and mail it the same day, before Michigan changed its mind.