Now that former five-star recruit and Memphis big man Moussa Cisse has signed with the Oklahoma State basketball program, it’s time for OSU fans to learn a little more about where their new star calls home.
Cisse is from Guinea, a country in West Africa. Guinea is located along the Atlantic coast and is bordered by Guinea-Bissau, Sierra Leone, Mali, Senegal, Liberia, and Cote d’Ivoire.
Cisse’s hometown is Conakry, the country’s capital and a city of about 1.6 million. He moved to the United States in 2015, playing high school basketball in New York and teaming for a short time with Precious Achiuwa, a Miami Heat player from Nigeria who helped his country defeat Team USA during tune-ups for the Summer Olympics.
New Oklahoma State basketball center Moussa Cisse arrives in Stillwater after coming to the United States at the age of 13 from Guinea.
Overall, Guinea’s population is a little over 12 million people, the majority of whom are Sunni Muslims. Though its official language is French, many residents of Guinea speak a distinct, localized language at home. The country is made up of as many as 24 ethnic groups, including the Fulani, Mandinka, and Sussou, among others.
In an interview with local Memphis news station WREG, Cisse noted that we have many material blessings in the United States and that some people in his country don’t have shoes. Before a growth spurt as a teenager, his childhood dream was becoming a great soccer player. Things have clearly changed for the 6-foot-11 center who will now call Stillwater his U.S. home.
Cisse averaged 6.6 points and 6.3 rebounds for Memphis in his freshman, helping lead the Tigers to the NIT title this past spring. In remarks to ESPN, he noted how impressed he was with what OSU did with Cade Cunningham and that OSU head coach Mike Boynton had been in constant dialogue with him for a good amount of time.
The move makes sense for Cisse, too, as OSU gives him the chance to compete in one of the best conferences in college basketball. Instead of playing nightly against squads like Tulane, South Florida, and East Carolina, Cisse will instead be lacing up his sneakers and squaring off against Kansas, Oklahoma, and Texas.
There are two current NBA players from Guinea, like Cisse — Sekou Doumbouya of the Detroit Pistons and Mamadi Diakite of the Milwauke Bucks. A third player, Hamidou Diallo (who used to play for the Thunder), is of Guinean descent but has represented the United States at several junior-level international competitions.