Fousseyni Traore and Fousseyni Drame reunite at Big Dance

Fousseyni Traore and Fousseyni Drame reunite at Big Dance

OMAHA, Neb. (ABC4 Sports) – It may the first time in college basketball history that two players named Fousseyni are playing against each other.

BYU’s Fousseyni Traore and Duquesne’s Fousseyni Drame will battle it out on the court tomorrow in Omaha in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

“Now, that will actually be super cool,” Traore said. “I am so hyped. I cannot wait.”

Traore and Drame are both from the same town in Mali, called Bamako, with a population of just over three million. The two forwards have played together on the Mali National Team, and have known each other since they were kids.

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“We kind of grew up in the same generation,” said Drame, who has also played at St. Peter’s and La Salle. “But I’m a little older than him. I’m like Fousseyni senior, and he’s like, Fousseyni junior.”

“Maybe,” Traore said. “But I’m Big Fous, and he’s Little Fous.”

Both ‘Fousses’ have followed each other’s careers over the years, but this will be the first time they will be on the same court in a college game.

“Yeah, I’ve be following him,” Drame said. “Everybody in Mali, it’s a small community of basketball. So we kind of follow each other.”

But are there more BYU fans or more Duquesne fans in Mali?

“For sure, BYU,” Traore said. “We’ve got a lot of BYU fans in Mali for sure.”

While soccer is still the number one sport in Mali, basketball is definitely growing, thanks in part to the two Fousseynis.

“The country’s in the phase of growing,” Drame said. “In the coming years, Mali will have one of the best youth groups in West Africa.”

Traore has become a fan favorite in Provo, and his game has improved greatly this year. He is averaging 10.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game this season.

“It feels like a family,” said Traore. “I feel right at home at BYU.”

So will there be a bit of friendly trash talking tomorrow on the court?

“The trash talking is who is going to be the real Fouuseyni,” Drame said with a smile.

“Yeah, that will definitely be decided for sure,” Traore agreed. “I’m super excited about it.”

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BYU and Duquesne will tip off at 10:40 a.m MT Thursday in Omaha.

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