Despite missing the majority of last season with a knee injury, Senegal are keeping the faith with leading rebounder Saer Sene ahead of the upcoming FIBA World Cup of Basketball.
The 28-year-old forward injured his left knee playing for Shark Antibes in a Pro A league win over Strasbourg last October. Since then Sene has been undergoing rehabilitation and Senegal coach Cheikh Sarr is still keen on adding the player to his roster.
Sene was one of the rocks behind Senegal’s progression to this year’s World Cup as he averaged 3.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.2 blocks a game as they won the bronze medal at Afrobasket in 2013.
“He is part of this team, but he must fight to earn a place in the final roster,” Sarr told the media in Dakar.
“It is true that his case is tricky. Saer Sene battled hard throughout the Afrobasket and he was able to play a key role for the qualification. It is therefore the responsibility of the coaching staff to recover him mentally. I think I made the right choices.”
Sene was drafted by the then-Seattle Supersonics with the 10th pick of the 2006 NBA Draft but instead has preferred a career in Europe with a chunk of it being in France playing for Toulon, Gravelines and his current club Antibes. Sene spent two seasons with Fuenlabrada in the ACB in the middle of that.
The Senegalese coach though has stated that Sene must fight for his spot on the roster.
“This group showed total commitment and cohesion to get to this stage,” Sarr said. “We can’t select everyone. I made up the list along with my assistants and we found it necessary to strengthen certain areas.
“This preliminary squad is based on several technical-tactical factors, discipline, commitment and others.”
Coach Sarr will lead his rank outsiders to the FIBA World Cup of Basketball in Spain, starting August 30 and into Group B where they will face Greece, Croatia, Argentina, Puerto Rico and Philippines.