Hometown: Bamaka, Mali
Previous School: Wasatch Academy
Fousseyni Traore Player Preview
Mali native Fousseyni Traore came into the program last year with relatively little fanfare as a 3-star prospect from Wasatch Academy. With frontcourt players Richard Harward, Gavin Baxter, and Caleb Lohner in the program, not much was expected from Fouss year one.
Richard Harward went down before the season started and Baxter was out just a few weeks in, and Fouss responded with a fantastic freshman season. He set BYU freshman records for total rebounds, offensive rebounds, and third most blocks for a freshman. Fouss was named to the WCC All-Freshman team and led the team with 8.5 blocks, 1.3 boards, 59% FG shooting, and third in scoring with 9.5 points.
Now in year two, Fouss is a Preseason All-WCC selection and will counted on to take a big jump. Yoeli Childs went from 9 points as a freshman to 18 points as a sophomore, and while I don’t see that big of a leap for Fouss, I expect his production to increase as he becomes a focal point of the offense.
One thing I am curious to see this season is if Fouss is able to play the 4 spot. He will likely mostly play the 5 due to BYU’s roster construction, but going into the Big 12 coaches would like Fouss to play more 4. To do so, he needs to improve his lateral quickness and improve his range. Fouss was a 74% FT shooter and range will come with repetition, but I want to see if he will be able to guard players on the perimeter more. If Fouss can stretch his range a bit and periodically hold his own on perimeter switches and guarding quicker fours, then BYU can more comfortably play him on the floor with Atiki this season.
I don’t worry about Fouss scoring points and rebounding, which those alone could make him BYU’s best player, but I want to see the next step in his development of being able to occasionally slide down to the four spot and hold his own defensively against quicker players.
Season Expectations: All-WCC Player, Top 2-3 Player on BYU
Fouss was thrust into action a year ahead of schedule, and it will pay huge dividends as a sophomore. BYU will have more scoring options, but I don’t think that will stop Fouss from averaging 13+ and averaging around 10 boards a game.
BYU’s outside shooting will in some ways determine Fouss’ effectiveness. On paper BYU should be an improved shooting team, and if they can translate that to the court then BYU’s offense should be much more effective with better spacing. Fouss on the block with four legitimate three-point shooters around him could give BYU opponents headaches and allow this BYU team to exceed expectations.