Fairmont State's Mamadou Datt Finds Comfort 5,000 Miles from Hom - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Fairmont State's Mamadou Datt Finds Comfort 5,000 Miles from Home

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FAIRMONT -

Mamadou Datt's journey to the Fairmont State men's basketball team spans across the Atlantic Ocean. The junior forward hails from Senegal on the west coast of Africa. He also speaks seven languages.

"I speak French because I studied it at school," Datt said. "I speak my native languages Poular. I speak Arabic because I'm Muslim, and I speak four different languages in my country."

One language Datt didn't originally speak was basketball. He grew up playing soccer, and it wasn't until his aunt suggested that he utilized his 6-foot-9-inch frame that he made the switch.

"She was a good basketball player," Datt said of his aunt. "She bought me my first shoes and my first basketball, so I went to basketball."

Datt played his first two seasons at Division-I Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Prior to this season, he decided to transfer to FSU, a place he now calls his home.

"When I was in California, I was in a school. When I was in Duquesne, I was in a school. Here in West Virginia, I'm just kind of with a family."

FSU Head Coach Jerrod Calhoun calls Datt a great person off the court. In addition, he believes Datt has the potential to be a dominant player on it.

"He's had some really, really struggling knee battles," said Calhoun, who is in his second year with the program. "I always tease him, I say, 'You're playing on one knee. If you had two knees, you'd be the best big man in this league.'"

Datt said that in his time at Fairmont State, he has gotten to spend time with his teammates at their houses in the area. This has helped him form a bond with his teammates that he never felt while he was at Duquesne.

Despite this bond, Datt still longs to return home. He hasn't been back to Senegal in over three years, and he says he can feel the strain of the distance.

"I miss my family," said Datt, who hopes to make a return trip this summer, but isn't certain it will happen. "I miss my dad. I miss my mom. I miss my sisters. And even my little brother. I miss bad my family."

Until that time, Datt says he will keep working hard at the game he came nearly 5,000 miles to play.