Maniacs honor Badiane’s career

on Senior Night

by Eric Gilmore

Okay, so the Pirates didn’t win on Saturday night versus Houston. To be honest, I’ve almost come to expect it. As a student over the past two years, I am almost building up immunity to tough losses. Even so, as I register it in the “to be forgotten” pile in my memory bank, I’m certain Moussa Badiane probably won’t.

A crowd of about 50 well-wishers stayed 45 minutes after the game was over to honor their 6-foot-ten-inch Frenchman. They waited for Badiane to process the game in the locker room while changing, talk to the local media and then find the courage to face a crowd after such a disappointing loss.

I remember after my nowhere-near-championship-level high school basketball games that I didn’t want to talk to anybody after a game. I was always mad about the refereeing or some silly thing. Maybe it’s a French thing, but Badiane didn’t share my same sentiments.

Presented with an awesome 22 by 28 inch portrait created by Sally Jo Medford (a name you should recognize), Badiane seem stunned. Kinda the way, he has stunned us with his numerous blocks and thunderous dunks. Badiane took pictures, signed autographs and even gave an appreciative speech.

It’s funny that Badiane gave a speech in his distinct accent considering he barely spoke English when he arrived. Jill Herenda, associate head coach Greg’s wife, gave Badiane a French dictionary when he came to Greenville. Recounted via the Herenda’s, it was the first thing that Badiane asked for when he got off the plane.

Jill, fluent in French, had used the dictionary while she was in school. On Saturday night, Badiane returned the book he had borrowed four years ago as a token of his thanks.

It was kinda the same way for the Maniacs. They appreciate Badiane because gave his sweat, blood and tears for the basketball program laying the foundation for future Pirates. But Badiane was the one doing the appreciating for all the effort the fans have put in towards supporting him.

The portrait was signed by all the significant Maniacs (I got a little space in the left corner). Badiane won’t recognize 90 percent of the names, but it doesn’t matter.

The picture itself is symbolic of Badiane. The photograph to which the picture is based on is in the ladder portions of Badiane’s career. When he came here, he was a raw talented skinny rail. In the picture, he’s got some guns. Also, the normally reserved Badiane is letting out a little emotion as he thrusts it home.

Regardless on your opinion of Herrion’s firing, you can’t disagree that Badiane has been a class act. Barely knowing English, the Management major is graduating with over a 3.0 GPA. He has always stated that he tries to lead by example especially off the court.

Badiane came to ECU without ever visiting. He took his brother Pape’s word, who had visited a year before. Badiane took a chance on ECU. Judging the fans and Maniacs on Saturday night, his gamble paid off.

Badiane signed every autograph and agreed to every photo request. Something told me that he would.

Eric Gilmore

Photo courtesy of Jonathon Medford.

Portrait done by Sally Jo Medford.
If you are interested in her artwork,

Photo courtesy of Josh Illman.

Moussa poses with his likeness.

Photo courtesy of Jonathon Medford.

Moussa poses with the artist. Sally Jo is Jonathon Medford’s wife. The two have helped to create the Minges Maniacs.