Photo by Twitter / Fatou Samb
Cal Basketball Recruiting

5 Star Post Fatou Samb Becomes First Building Block in Talented 2020 Cal Class

October 24, 2019

The first of two talented 5 star commits this week, 6’3 Houston post Fatou Samb joins today's commit -Michelle Onyiah- in the first pieces of a talented 2020 Cal women's hoops class.

Samb, the #53 overall and #6 post in the nation will give the Bears one of a couple pieces to help rebuild the front court after the departure of 1st round draft pick Kristine Anigwe, Cal’s all-leading scorer and rebounder.

“Fatou is a great player, but more importantly, a great person,” said AAU coach Chris Johnson. “She is the kind of young lady that others gravitate to. She is the first to help younger players in our program, whether in drills or advice in the game.

“On the court, she is a traditional, back-to-the-bucket post who has an array of offensive moves. She takes great pride in her defense and loves to block shots. Cal will be getting an exceptional young lady in character who will bring a true post presence.”

Notes ESPN/Hoopgurlz: “Skilled low-post prospect with efficient interior game; post-up game yields results; defends in the paint, rebounds and initiates the fast break; mobile in transition game; elite front court prospect in the class of 2020. Low-post performer brings emerging back-to-basket game results; nimble footwork in the paint, active on the glass.”

Samb is particulary excited to be heading West and joining the Cal program.

“Cal started recruiting me around this time last year,” said Samb. “I remember Coach Charmin coming out to a game last season and from there, we’ve been on the phone and communicating and coming to games. 

“After Coach Lindsay (Gottlieb) left, the relationship never really slowed down. We had a home visit, which was great. I was already in love with the school so I wasn’t just going to change the way I felt about Cal. They’ve always been great during the process, with the entire coaching staff over the last year.”

The addition of former Arizona assistant April Phillips to the Bears’ staff also helped the Cal’s momentum in the recruitment of the 5 star Houston native, continuing the relationship they built before her arrival at Cal.

“I also talked to Coach April when she was at Arizona quite a bit,” said Samb. “We just continued to build our relationship as well as my relationship with the whole staff when she came to Cal.”

Her recent visit to Cal reaffirmed Samb’s early impressions that the Cal program and university were the right place for her.

“The visit was really great,” said Samb. “It was my first one so I was pretty nervous about how it was going to go and what we’d do. But overall, the visit was great. I was there with (PG) Genesis (Bryant) and Lay Lay (Dalayah Daniels) on my trip.

“I knew the university was one of the top ones in the world and my visit just reaffirmed that. It was very diverse and I liked that a lot.”

The closeness of the team and the interaction with the players and coaches also gave Samb the feeling of home that helped make the Bears’ program stand out, as well.

“I love the team culture,” noted Samb. “They definitely get at it in practice and I like that. They’re a really fun group of girls, both on and off the court. They communicate very well and they’re really close off the court and really friendly and family-oriented, which I really like. And the coaches’ relationships with the players really stood out. It was great to see that. That’s something I really look for.”

The academic piece was the clincher for the talented post. The Bears beat out Harvard, Michigan, Wake Forest and Rice for Samb’s commitment.

“Academically, we knew going forward that all my final schools were strong academically but none were at the level of Cal, especially in my area of interest, the Haas School of Business. I took a tour there and talked to some professors. They’re amazing and the connections you have there are amazing.”

The talented Samb is hard at work in making her game more well-rounded after excelling largely on the defensive end of the court.

“I feel like on the defensive end, my presence is more well-known, with blocked shots, helping on help side, rebounding. I definitely want to keep expanding my offensive game and back-to-the-basket game, short corner and high post. I’m working on getting everything ready for the next level.”

Samb’s parents came from Senegal, with her dad first coming to America, and her mom following later with him, eventually settling down in the Houston area after living in New York and New Jersey before having Samb and her younger sister.

A source of additional inspiration for Samb was the play of former Bear Kristine Anigwe -someone she’d like to try and emulate at Cal, if possible.

“Kristine’s offensive game -even her defensive game- I’d love to replicate that,” said Samb. “I’d love to be at that level, being a force, being aggressive, finishing well around the basket, rebounding. I caught a few of her games and I LOVE her game.”

With the additional commitment of Onyiah today, look for another 1-2 additional members in the Cal 2020 class.

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5 Star Post Fatou Samb Becomes First Building Block in Talented 2020 Cal Class

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