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Star in the making Kanoute scores 50 points as Mali chase continental glory

4 Siriman Kanoute (MLI)
4 Siriman Kanoute (MLI) - Mauritius v Mali, 2017 FIBA U16 African Championship Final Round (MRI), Phoenix(MRI), Group Phase, 15 July 2017

PHOENIX (FIBA U16 African Championship 2017) – Siriman Kanoute may not be a household name in Mali, but he is making noises at FIBA Africa U16 Championship in Mauritius.

The 16-year-old stands out from his team by the quality he has displayed in the Group Phase. His ability to score has seen him leading all scorers so far.

When Kanoute steps on the floor he looks swift and intelligent. His showdown in Saturday’s match against host country Mauritius saw him achieve a remarkable feat – attaining 50 points in one game.

Siriman Kanoute scored 50 points for Mali at #FIBAU16Africa in 165-23 win over Mauritius - taking 51 shots (!) inc 5/28 3s w 11st pic.twitter.com/rLmpEZifcf

"We’d like to see him top the scorer’s chart," Boubel Konate told FIBA.basketball, who heads the Mali delegation in Mauritius.

He is currently ahead of Madagascar’s Marco Rakotovao, who is short of 22 points. And the Second Round, which starts on Monday, might set him higher ahead as Mali take on Mauritius once again.

Originating from a family of basketball lovers, the young Kanoute is looking forward to helping Mali clinch their first ever title at the FIBA Africa U16 Championship.

"I was watching the guys when they lost the trophy to Egypt in 2015. I was there, but I was too young to play,” he recalled.

Now that he is old enough to make the impact he wants on the game, he is sure to have a go at it. "We want that title. It is the only thing that’s missing to our feats," Kanoute said.

Far from becoming an obsession, this is his main objective. "We were at home. We were short of one point. We need to get this trophy home this time.”

Son of Sega Kanoute, a member of Mali BasketBall Federation, he is also related to Alassan and Aboubakar Kanoute. The trio played, during their times, for the national team. To add to that, the young Kanoute is the sibling of N’Bamakan Kanoute, who currently plays for Mali women’s national team.

"We all love basketball in my family. Everyone in my family has been in basketball in one way or the other,” he explained.

He is currently in his ninth year of schooling, in a college where he shares his time between sports and studies, where he sometimes trains up to 10 pm.  "I live there nine months per year.”

What next for young Kanoute? "I’m looking forward to a long career in basketball”, he replied.

If he ever lifts the trophy on Saturday, July 22, after the finals, he would have achieved an amazing feat by helping his side win one of the missing titles.

But he will not go unnoticed.