French Under-18 center Mouhammadou â€œMamâ€ Jaiteh is catching the attention of American basketball scouts. The French-born big man was born to a father from Senegal and a mother from Gambia. Despite picking up the game relatively late a the age of 13, his outstanding physical profile made him a fixture on the French Under-16 and Under-18 national teams the past three years and earned him a coveted spot at INSEP (the National Institute for Sport and Physical Education), a government sponsored academy for top athletes in 24 (mostly Olympic) sports. As a 16-year-old, Jaiteh even led the French Under-18 team in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots.
Upon finishing his time at INSEP, the 17-year old Jaiteh elected to establish himself as one of the most productive players in the lesser division Pro B, where he currently ranks 3rd in Player Efficiency Rating. He briefly flirted with the idea of enrolling in college (Gonzaga University in Washington State even brought him to the US for a visit) but decided against it eventually, preferring to spend his summer with the French junior national team, and even getting called to train with the senior team as a body for practice, where he reportedly held his own.
When asked what his plans are after his finishes his time with INSEP, Jaiteh told heinnews.com: â€œFor this time I donâ€™t know. But I think I can maybe go into the second division in France or first division or the United States. Maybe I want to go to college. I am open for everything.â€
The 6-foot-9 big man said he is working on his leadership and outside shot. â€œI have to be an example for the new players (with the France national team). But I feel really good that I can be a leader,â€ said Jaiteh. â€œClose to the basket I am a good player and I can help the team. But I need work on my outside shot.â€ Currently NBADraft.com projects Jaiteh as a second round pick in the 2013 NBA Draft should he turn pro this summer. However, DraftExpress.com projects Jaiteh as a Top 10 pick should he wait to turn professional in 2014.