Updated: Jan 28
While there are many attributes to consider when evaluating basketball prospects, there are certain things you simply can’t teach — size sits atop that list. Taller players are now expected to have ball skills, shoot the ball, switch onto smaller players and provide rim protection. These are all skills that have made Mady Traore one of the most sought after recruits in the 2022 high school class.
At nearly 7-feet tall, with a 7’3 wingspan and massive 9’5 standing reach, Traore started off playing in his home country of France before joining the basketball program at Bishop Walsh (MD). He has been a standout at a number of events, including the HoopSeen West Preview Camp powered by Pro Insight. Equipped with the ability to handle the ball adeptly in transition, with shooting touch and a great deal of potential to shoot off of motion, Traore can also get to points with a running start that have him in rare company.
He has the potential to be a mismatch on both sides of the court once he gets to college, with three-level scoring ability, lateral agility and rim protection. He has a high release point on his jump shot along with advanced footwork, combined with a functional ball skills at 6’11+. Traore recently listed his top-eight schools: Auburn, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Oregon, Pittsburgh, USC and Virginia Tech.
In this interview, Traore announces some big news, discusses his basketball origins, breaks down his final eight college programs, gives insight into how he sees himself as a basketball player, shares at his future goals, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2022 French prospect Mady Traore:
Pro Insight: Walk us through your background and family.
Mady Traore: My family is very tall. I have two sisters that are 6’3” and two brothers that are 6’5”. We always played basketball as a family. I played on a club team in Paris-Levallois that was in the French Pro A League. We played against teams in Pro A that were pretty good. After that, I came to the USA to play at my new high school.
PI: Describe your game for people who don’t know it.
MT: My game is like a stretch player. I can dribble, shoot, defend and pass.
PI: What are some things that you can improve?
MT: My skill, dribbling, and my shot. Also, my physical. I am trying to get to 220 pounds.
PI: What are you doing to bulk up and add weight?
MT: This summer I was working on my lower body because sometimes a small guard would get on me and I had to be quick and stronger. I’m going to continue to lift weights this season.
PI: What kind of work in the weight room have you done before?
MT: I just started getting serious about it this year. I weigh 190 pounds.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
MT: I did judo, volleyball, and soccer too. I was a pretty good volleyball player. I played goalie in soccer. I was tall so I was pretty good.
PI: Did you hit a growth spurt at any point or have you always been tall?
MT: I’ve always been tall.
PI: Did anyone else in your family play sports at a high level?
MT: My mom and dad both could have played at a high level but they both got hurt so they couldn’t play at a high level. My mom is 6’3” and my dad was 6’4”.
PI: What are your favorite things to do on the court?
MT: I like running, playing defense, going out in transition and shooting.
PI: What do you like to do in your free time?
MT: I like to eat. I watch a lot of videos on YouTube.
PI: What do you like to eat?
MT: Donuts. I really like donuts.
PI: What kind of music do you like?
MT: I like rap in France and the USA.
PI: What’s your favorite song?
MT: Gang Gang by Travis Scott.
PI: What’s your favorite movie?
MT: Deadpool. They are funny movies.
PI: Who’s your favorite superhero?
MT: Ironman. I like him. When I was younger, that was my favorite. I wanted to be like him and have his powers.
PI: Talk to us about your recruitment a little bit. You’ve had a lot of offers come your way.
MT: I’ve been offered by a lot of schools, but my top-8 is Kansas, Pitt, Illinois, Oregon, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Florida and USC.
PI: What has impressed you about each program in your top-8?
MT: My choices are based on style of play, coaching staff, recruiting class and more or less on the history of players that I share common attributes, such as size and skills to be able to play positionless basketball.
Kansas: The Head Coach told me that he will coach me hard and he would do me a disservice not to push me to my full potential and that two years from now I would be at the top of my recruiting class. He thinks that I could come in and work very hard to earn the opportunity to be a one-and-done. He wants to play me everywhere on the court and I like that. The head coach told me that I will the first pick if I go there and work hard.
Pitt: I like Coach Capel. He coached a lot of pros when he was a Duke and the ACC is a very good conference. Positionless is how he wants to use me and allow me to push the ball. It’s definitely a plus knowing that he coached a guy like Brandon Ingram who I share similar skill sets with.
Illinois: I had a pretty good zoom session with the entire coaching staff and I got the chance to have a look at how they are planning on developing me as an all-around player and their coaching style fits how I’m comfortable playing in transition. A lot of pro style offense, switching on defense on everything so I can guard smaller players on pick-and-rolls. They move the ball a lot on offense. I will able to do a little of everything from catch and shoot to create my own shot, drive or cut to the basket, to finishing with dunks.
Oregon: I feel like I have similar attributes and skill sets to some of the pros that came out of Oregon. I do love that they actually let them be themselves and play their game out of their typical role because they were bigger wings. I can look back at some of the games and see those guys play in ways that I’m very comfortable with.
Auburn: They play fast and I can see how their style of play would benefit me and the things I want to work on to earn an opportunity at the next level. They let their players go and it’s all positive for me. I enjoy watching them play.
Virginia Tech: I live in Virginia and it’s like the home team kind of and they were one of the first schools recruiting and showing me interest when I got here. It’s the ACC and you go against future stars every night.
Florida: They have a history of winning with a French guy. I like the coaching staff because they really like my game and they think I can be a great player.
USC: I like how they like to use long and tall guards. They have a 6’8” PG. I’m big and I like to play small, they also play fast and in transition so I like to play fast and I want to push the ball.
PI: What is your desired role at the next level?
MT: I want to play everywhere more on the wing and guard position. I see myself more like a big guard that can play everywhere…
PI: Do you prefer a faster or slower style?
MT: I like to play in the fast break and the halfcourt too. I like both.
PI: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
MT: I want to be in the league.
PI: What are four words that describe you?
MT: Fast. Snake. Smart. Length.
PI: Where did the nickname “Snake” come from?
MT: It’s from me. Everyone tells me I’m fast for a big and dribble well. Everyone tells me that so I called myself “Snake”.
PI: What’s your favorite memory on the basketball court?
MT: My first dunk. I was 13. I was on a fast break and they passed me the ball. I wasn’t expecting it or anything. They said “dunk the ball” and I just did it.
PI: Is there any moment in your life where you had to learn a lesson?
MT: When my dad died. I was sad. That’s my motivation. When my mom told me that my dad died, I cried every day. After that, she told me, if I play basketball, do it for him. Every time I’m in the game I think about him.
PI: We understand you’re making a big decision today. What do you want to share with the people?
MT: My family and I decided that it was best for me to transfer to a different high school.
PI: What went into your decision to transfer schools?
MT: The opportunity to play my game and improve. I learned the game at the wing position in France as a 3. I came here to improve at that position and grow to the other positions as I’m learning the game. I want to improve more as a 3-2 because I can shoot, handle, and push the ball and as I get stronger work on the 4. I understand mismatches and at times I’m going to defend at the 5 but I’m no center and I’m not planning on becoming one.
PI: What are the chances that you reclassify into the 2021 class?
MT: Right now I can’t answer that because I’m focusing on the high school season and school work.
PI: What are your goals before arriving on a college campus?
MT: Getting better with my skills and working on my body to get stronger so I can compete my first day on campus. I have to get better everyday, I can never be satisfied. I want to get stronger, put on a little weight so I can drive harder. I have to work on my handle and shooting better. I also have to play more games so I can gain more experience and make mistakes to improve.