• Mamadou honored by Big 12 for sportsmanship and service

    Mamadou DieneSeven-foot center Mamadou Diene is a favorite around campus, nicknamed “The Mayor” for his friendly nature, and he has finished among the top three in the Big 12 Conference in blocks per game in each of his first three seasons. But it was his off-the-court activity that earned him the title of 2008 Big 12 Male Sportsperson of the Year from the conference last week.

    Since arriving from Senegal, Mamadou has been an active participant in community service projects and has served on Baylor’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council. He does not own a car or cell phone so that he can send money home to help support his family (his parents died when he was a teenager). The first member of his family to attend college, Mamadou is set to graduate this August after just three and a half years. The Waco Tribune-Herald reports that he does plan to stick around for his senior year, though, after which he hopes to get a shot at the NBA.

    Mamadou is the second Baylor student-athlete to win the award since it was started in 2000-01; women’s basketball favorite Jessika Stratton was so honored in 2004.

    [June 6 update: Along these same lines, Mamadou was also one of five to receive the 2008 Wilma Rudolph Student-Athlete Achievement Award from the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics. The award honors “student-athletes who have overcome great personal, academic, and/or emotional odds to achieve academic success while participating in intercollegiate athletics.”]

    Sic ’em, Mamadou!