Milwaukee - The Marquette University men's basketball program has signed African standout Youssoupha Mbao (You-sof-ah M-bow) to a National Letter of Intent, head coach Buzz Williams announced Monday morning.
Mbao, a 7-2, 215-pounder, will arrive on campus this summer and have four years of eligibility with MU.
"We are very excited to welcome Youssoupha to the Marquette family," Williams said. "We have followed him since the fall, and each time we saw him, he continued to improve. Youssoupha speaks four languages fluently and his infectious spirit is identifiable as soon as you meet him, and because of how he was raised, and how he has been coached, his work ethic is unquestionable.
"That combination represents what we want to be about on and off the floor, and with his very high ceiling, I believe he has a very bright future, Williams added."
The Dakar, Senegal, native is currently ranked 125th in the nation among 2009 prospects according to HoopScoopOnline.com. Mbao competed for Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, Calif., in 2008-09, a program that entered the season ranked eighth in the country under head coach Babacar Sy. Mbao averaged 13.4 points, 11.2 rebounds and 6.0 blocks last season for Stoneridge, helping the team to a 17-13 overall record.
He has also participated in the 2008 adidas Nations Experience and the National Prep Showcase. Mbao was named to the honorable mention squad of the class of 2009 by NBN Basketball Magazine. He is ranked the 30th-best center in the class of 2009 by ESPN.com.
MU's first recruiting class under Williams is currently ranked first in the nation by HoopScoopOnline.com and third by Hoopmasters.com. The group is No. 11 on ESPN.com's list, 13th on PrepStars.com, rated 17th overall by Rivals.com and owns the 17th position on Scout.com's top-25 ranking.
2009 Marquette Men's Basketball Signing Class
Dwight Buycks G Jr. 6-3 185 Milwaukee, Wis./Bay View HS/Indian Hills JC
Junior Cadougan G Fr. 6-1 195 Toronto, Ont./Christian Life Center Academy
Darius Johnson-Odom G So. 6-2 190 Raleigh, N.C./Wakefield HS/Hutchinson CC
Jeronne Maymon G/F Fr. 6-6 215 Madison, Wis./Memorial HS
Youssoupha Mbao C Fr. 7-2 215 Dakar, Senegal/Stoneridge Prep
Brett Roseboro F Fr. 6-10 230 Quakertown, Pa./Quakertown HS
Erik Williams F Fr. 6-7 200 Houston, Texas/Cypress Springs HS