Thiam, a junior guard for the Dr. Phillips boys basketball team, is off to a great start this season.
Dr. Phillips junior Abdoulaye Thiam has hit the ground running this season for the Panthers’ boys basketball team. The 6-foot-3 guard scored 13 points to help secure a win over Freedom Dec. 12 and put up another 19 points in a hard-fought battle against Oak Ridge.
What got you started playing basketball?
First, I used to play soccer. I just kept getting too tall and felt like it wasn’t the sport for me, so I just started playing basketball and fell in love with it. That was about eighth grade.
Tell me about this season’s team dynamics.
We’re all family around here. We work with each other, when somebody needs help we help them, and we just get to that work.
Has there been a game so far this season that was particularly memorable?
There was a game last Friday against Oak Ridge. We played (well), we played with energy and stuff, but we still fell short. But I think that was probably the best game of the season that we’ve had (as of) right now.
How do you prepare before you step out on the court?
I just throw my headphones in and jam — that’s it. I put my headphones in, jam and go out and bring that momentum.
Do you have a favorite pro basketball player?
My favorite player is Kevin Durant. He just does it all. He’s 6-foot-3 and can do everything — shoot, dribble, everything.
What would you say are your strengths and weaknesses in the game?
My strength right now is shooting. The stuff I could work on right now is dribbling. I feel like my footwork is pretty good, but I could always make it better.
What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
My trainer, when I was practicing (he) was like, “Don’t take it for granted.” I know some people right now want to be in my spot but can’t be in my spot because of what’s going on through life and stuff. Right now, that’s basically it: Don’t just take it for granted.
Do you know what you’d like to do after high school?
I know for a fact I want to go to college and play college ball. I want to study international business. I could do marketing or I could make my own company. International business is worldwide.
What is your favorite Christmas song?
Probably “All I Want for Christmas is You” by Mariah Carey.
What music do you listen to?
I like to listen to a lot of stuff. I like to listen to Gunna, Chief Keef and all that stuff. I listen to country, too, sometimes.
What do you like to do outside of basketball?
I like playing video games, I like spending time with my friends and family, all of that.