The flag of the Cameroon will be waved on both sides of the arena in Indianapolis during the NCAA Championship game. I wish that I had more time to learn about this former French colony, its tribal ancestry and its subsequent development. I am focused on the game about to begin in 7 hours. The common thread is that both teams will have a very significant contribution from this obscure, to Americans, African state.
The Gators feature Joakim Noah. His father, Yannick, was a fabulous tennis player, whose athletic court coverage and electric personality graced the tennis circuit in the 1980's. His mother was former Miss Sweden.
He is a pleasure to watch, graceful, athletic, personable, frightening to this Bruin Fan.
From the Gator website:
What They Are Saying…
"Noah says he knows exactly who he is - and it's deeper than being the son of fame and beauty. He's the sum of what he has seen and done, that's who. Noah says he's a little bit of everything." - Rick Maese, Orlando Sentinel
"I never had any idea how good he would be. When he got older, he'd always play ball with my son, and even then I didn't know he'd be like he is now. I still can't believe he's 7-feet." - Former NBA-great Patrick Ewing
"Joakim is a people person, he enjoys being around people. He has an enthusiasm for life that's so refreshing. He's very much opinionated. Wait, that isn't the right word. He's very, very well-versed. Let's say politics or things that are going on in the country and the world - he likes debating these things. I remember seeing him and [associate head coach] Anthony Grant and they were having a healthy discussion about politics. That' not something you always see." - Florida coach Billy Donovan
On the Bruin side are Aboya and Mbah a Moute. Alfred Aboye was recruited with the potential to be a starting forward. From the Bruin website: UCLA -On Oct. 12, Aboya underwent a left knee arthroscopic procedure (cartilage) and the rehabilitation time is four-to-five weeks. Also on July 11 in Los Angeles, Aboya had a right knee arthroscopic procedure (cartilage).
HIGH SCHOOL - From the African republic of Cameroon, Aboya (A-boy-a) prepped at Tilton Prep Academy in New Hampshire . . . Aboya has played for the Cameroon National Team.
Luc Richard Mbah a Moute is no longer a secret weapon, but he is, potentially, a weapon of mass destruction. He can, in a quiet, stealthful way, destroy the opposition. He soaks up basketball knowledge like a sponge, and he executes. His performance against the Gators is the key to the Bruin victory.
2005 PRESEASON HONORS -- A good rebounder and defender with exceptional quickness, Mbah a Moute was a Street & Smith's Honorable Mention All-American, a Scout.com Top 150 and rated the No. 15 prospect in Florida by FloridaHoops.com
2004 -- As a junior honor roll student at the Montverde Academy, he averaged 12.0 points a game for coach Kevin Sutton.
PERSONAL -- Full name: Luc Richard Mbah a Moute . . . Right-handed . . . Born Sept. 9, 1986 in Yaounde, Cameroon . . . Parents: Camille Moute a Bidias (father) and Agnes Goufane Ziem (mother) . . . Five brothers and three sisters . . . Undeclared major.
All in all, the flag of the Cameroon will be waving, in the background, or maybe right there up front.
Enjoy the game!