French National Team Captain and NBA Champion Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs) announced on Thursday that he will play a prominent role in the development of female youth basketball in Senegal.
Through a partnership with Diaw’s Babac’ards Foundation and the SEED Project, Boris will underwrite the official launch of a high school girl’s elite academic and basketball program – SEED Academy Girls.
SEED Academy Girls will enroll up to 20 girls per year based on their academic, basketball and leadership potential, with the aim to have all students graduate from high school and enroll in college.
Diaw, whose father is from Senegal, and mother is regarded as one of the best centres in French basketball history, has long-championed the development of Senegalese youth through the Babac’ards Foundation.
“This partnership allows me to combine my passion for Senegal and basketball to directly impact youth” said Diaw. “I am excited to utilise the power of sport to help change lives, especially for girls who traditionally lack educational and athletic opportunities”.
Diaw will also match all donations up to $15K towards the SEED Academy Girls program. Donations can be made via the following site: www.classy.org/borisdiaw
“We are thrilled that an NBA player with such strong ties to Senegal and women’s basketball is giving back to help build the next generation of leaders,” said Romola Ratnam, Co-Executive Director of the SEED Project. “Exposure to inspirational individuals like Boris teaches our students the importance of using success to have a positive social impact – a key tenet of our program.”
The SEED Project has a 12-year history of success in combining academics and sport for success. Founded in 2002, the SEED Academy Boys program boasts a 75% college attendance rate, with 55 graduates going on to play collegiate basketball in the United States.
Building off the accomplishments of the Boys program, SEED launched a pilot for the Girls Elite program last year. Diaw’s three-year commitment will provide the funding to transition SEED Academy Girls from a pilot, to a permanent fixture within the SEED Project.
“Support at this level ensures that we will be able to keep the doors open for SEED Academy Girls – which represents some of our most talented students in the classroom and on the court”, said Noah Levine, Co-Executive Director at the SEED Project.
“This program will provide the pathway for more girls to attend college at institutions around the world [only 6% of girls in Senegal attend college], and, most importantly, develop female role models that will inspire generations of young girls to come after them.”
Born in Cormeilles-en-Parisis, France, Diaw was selected with the 21st pick in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks. The 12-year veteran won the NBA title with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014.
One of the most capped players for France, Diaw won a bronze medal at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup together with a gold, silver and bronze medal at Eurobasket 2013, 2011 and 2005 respectively.
About the SEED Project
Founded in 2002 by Amadou Fall (currently NBA Africa Vice President and Managing Director), the SEED Project is a non-profit that uses basketball to educate and develop the next generation of Senegalese leaders. Through three programs, including SEED Academy, the SEED Project serves over 2 000 boys and girls ages 6-19.
Since its inception, 75% of SEED Academy students have matriculated to four year college or universities – 55 playing college basketball in the United States. Five SEED Academy Alumni have played in the NBA and NBA Development League, including current Minnesota Timberwolves centre, Gorgui Dieng.
More information can be found at www.seedproject.org
About Babac’ards Foundation
Babac’ards Foundation is a non-profit directed by Elizabeth Riffiod, Boris Diaw’s mother. The foundation’s goal is to help youth to develop values through sport. <.p>
The foundation organises basketball camps in Senegal and charity games in France in order to raise money for programs supporting youth girls basketball development.
Having visited SEED Academy regularly and understanding their wish to develop women’s basketball and education, it was natural that Babac’ards agreed to a three-year partnership with SEED Academy to officially launch its first-ever girls elite program.