Papa Ndao might be the quietest player on the St. Joseph's basketball team, but he sure knows how to make those around him erupt.
The soft-spoken sophomore forward brought a sold-out Hagan Arena and his teammates to their feet as he out-jumped two opponents to tip in an errant shot on Dec. 28 against Iona. The basket gave the Hawks their largest lead of the night, capping a 13-2 second-half run, and punctuated a halt to a two-game losing streak.
Yet while the St. Joe's faithful roared and pumped their fists in celebration, Ndao (pronounced "now") calmly put his head down and ran to the other end of the court preparing to play defense unaware that Iona called a timeout to stop the bleeding. It was a team-first move that aptly defines Ndao as he embraces his role as St. Joseph's sixth man.
"I'm not worried about scoring," said Ndao, who has played in all 12 games this season, averaging 7.6 minutes off the bench. "We have people who can score the ball. I'm just worried about making the right play at all times whether on defense or on offense. I just want to be involved as much as possible. It's not my time yet. So I want to embrace my role. For now I'm not the go-to guy, so I'm going to push my teammates to their full potential and do what I can to help us win. It will be my time soon and I just have to keep doing what I'm doing to be ready."