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Like most transfers who move from the mid-major to high-major level, Pitt’s newest addition is looking to make a name for himself.

The difference with Mouhamadou Gueye, who committed to the Panthers on Monday as a transfer from Stony Brook, is that he’s been doing that for a long time.

Gueye, a Staten Island native, was a standout at Stony Brook the last two seasons, and he’s transferring to Pitt in a search for more exposure and development. But before he was at Stony Brook, he spent two years playing junior college basketball at Monroe College in the Bronx, and he had to go to Monroe for a pretty unique reason:

He didn’t play organized basketball in his junior and senior years of high school.

Gueye was still playing hoops In those years. He would get together with friends on playgrounds or at a rec center. But he didn’t play for his high school team, and his opportunity at Monroe only came about because he joined the then-nascent iWork Sports AAU basketball team.

“Some guys on the AAU team knew about me and they asked me to play,” Gueye told “So I ran it by my parents and I figured, I might as well; I’m not doing anything else.

“Everything took off from there.”

Gueye isn’t exaggerating about things taking off. His play with the iWork team got on a highlight tape that ended up in front of the Monroe coaches who, in turn, invited him to a workout that led to a spot on the roster.

Of course, it wasn’t all smooth sailing at Monroe. Gueye hadn’t played organized basketball since he was on the JV squad at Curtis High School in his sophomore year. So when he got to Monroe, he came with good size, great athleticism and a fair amount of talent, but his teammates had been playing high school and AAU basketball for years, so he found himself watching from the bench almost as much as he was playing.

“It’s challenging because a lot of people have more experience than me,” he said. “Even if I was more talented than some guys, at this level, talent can only bring you so far and the experience that guys had over me was big. So I had to adjust to it at JUCO and Stony Brook.

“I do think my game has developed a lot, but even now I’m still considered a very raw player. I’ve just learned so much about the game.”

That learning led to an impressive resume at Stony Brook. After averaging 3.1 blocks per game this past season, he was named the America East Defensive Player of the Year, and in two seasons with the Seawolves, he averaged 8.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game while shooting 43.7% from the floor and 71.7% from the line in addition to attempting 72 three-pointers.

“My athleticism is the biggest thing that stands out to everybody: I can run the floor, I jump, I block shots, that kind thing. But I think I can handle the ball pretty well for my size.”

And therein lies another interesting angle to Gueye’s story. When he played on the Curtis junior varsity team in ninth and tenth grade, he wasn’t posting up very often. Instead, he was a 5’9” back court player, mostly lining up at point guard or shooting guard. He was 6’0” by the end of his sophomore year and grew to 6’3” or 6’5” – he can’t remember exactly – when he was a junior, and the growth spurts kept coming. Now he’s 6’9” and 210 pounds, but he hasn’t lost those abilities he developed as a JV guard.

“I still have some of those skills,” Gueye said. “My game is so versatile ,and the way the game is going right now, I think I fit right in. I can play the 4, I can play the 3, I can play the 5. I can stretch the floor, be a rim-protector, screen and roll, shoot three’s, take people off the dribble – I really think I have a mismatch ability. If you put a big five on me, it’s hard for them to stay in front of me. And I think a guard would be tough to put a hand up on me.”

That versatility was appealing for Jeff Capel and the Pitt coaching staff – and their plans for using Gueye made the Panthers appealing for him.

“Pitt was one of the first schools that reached out to me,” he said. “My whole reason for entering was to play at a high level and increase my exposure, and I was really looking for development since it’s my last year and I want to prepare for the professional level.

“So we had a Zoom and it went great. I got to know the coaching staff and they grew on me right away. They spoke a lot about the culture and I know they have a good resume there. They’re developed a good group of pros, so I knew if I went there, I’d be covered as far as that goes.

“Playing style was a big thing for me – trying to find the right fit because of the way I play and my skill set. I think Pitt is a good fit: they play four-out, five-out, position-less basketball that fits me really well.”

Gueye will come to Pitt with one year of eligibility remaining, and the coaches figure to use him primarily at the center position, although his versatility opens up a lot of options in the rotation.

“The big thing we talked about was their playing style,” Gueye said. “It’s a very ‘pro’ playing style, kind of the way the game is going nowadays, and I wanted to find somewhere I could fit well, somewhere I could showcase my whole skill set.

“Coach Capel talked about guys like Brandon Ingram and Jayson Tatum, 6’9” guys who aren’t just bigs, they’re more so wings. I know on the next level, I’ll have to be more of a wing but still polishing and improving my inside game.”