It isn’t how Samba Kane envisioned his Summer, but it definitely is ending how he wanted. The last 9 weeks have been a speed bump in the path for Illini fans and more Importantly, Samba himself. Illinois had zero clue some of his credits or courses from his native Senegal wouldn’t count towards his eligibility. Samba spent the last two month’s taking a summer course that he needed at least a B to be accepted into the University of Illinois, Samba finished that course and passed last week. He told me it was fairly difficult but was confident the entire summer.
When we talked back in June, he told me an old technology course was the issue hindering him from summer school at Illinois. It also cost him precious time with Illini strength coach Adam Fletcher and gaining valuable chemistry with his teammates. With all that said, I think anyone would agree, better late than never with this situation. I spoke with Samba this week about keeping in shape, contact with Illinois staff and when he lands in Champaign.
In his words with Samba Kane
I asked Samba how he has been keeping in shape and if he had been spending much time working on his game.
Samba told me “Yes, absolutely. I’ve been working with the guy I’m staying with, Greg used to coach and now he’s the president of the Colorado Hawks Basketball program.
After having a setback that wasn’t a sure thing to come back from. I wanted to know how he felt knowing his journey is back on track to Champaign. Also, his confidence level heading back to his squad.
He said” I’m confident and super thrilled to get back. That’s a great program and I’m blessed to be part of it.”
During his time away, the Illini staff talked with him often and even came and visited him. But it wasn’t about what Samba would bring on the court they discussed.
Samba said “Coach Coleman was here to check on me but he was only worrying about the present moment. Wanted to see how I was holding up and how my Online courses were going.”
Something I am sure everyone had been waiting on, When will Samba actually hit campus?
Kane told me “I will leave for champaign on August 22nd. I am extremely excited.”
Samba also told me that he’s around 210 pounds still and is ready to hit weight training full speed.
This story turned out way better than it could have. While the situaion wasn’t ideal, Illinois will need Samba Kane this season. Grad transfer Adonis de La Rosa likely won’t play untill January, meaning the entire Non-Conference slate will be occupied down low by freshman. Samba a natural 5, the only one accustomed to to the “center” position. Anthony Higgs and Giorgi would have had to hold an extremely undersized front court yet again. I genuinely love what Samba can bring to the team and he has loads of potential. Samba instantly brings shot blocking presence Illinois hasn’t had since Nnana Egwu left. Samba is a humble and Hard working young man who wants to be a pro and make his family and country proud, he pushes himself daily and is someone the University and it’s fans will fall in love with.