Born in Guinea, Doumbouya moved to France as a 1 year old with his Mother, 3 siblings and cousin. Originally a football player, Doumbouya's height hindered his progress and as a 13 year old, standing 2.02m tall he began playing basketball.
At the age of 14 he joined France's Sport Institute and played for their affiliated club in French basketball's third tier, however he was dismissed after 1 season for disciplinary reasons. He then went on to sign a professional contract with Poitiers Basket 86 at the age of 15 in the French 2nd tier and saw regular playing time, earning the 2nd tiers Best Young Player award in his second season. He also was France's leading scorer as the U/18 squad won the FIBA Europe Under 18 Championship.
In 2018, despite having previously signed a contract extension Doumbouya expressed his desire to play in the top French league and ended up signing with Limoges CSP which gave him the opportunity to not only play in the top national league, but also the EuroCup. In his first season he averaged 7.7 points and 3.2 rebounds per game in the national league and in eight EuroCup appearances, Doumbouya averaged 6.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.
After one season with Limoges, Sekou was selected with the 15th pick in the first round of the 2019 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, becoming the first player to be born in Guinea to make the NBA and was also the youngest player in the association in his rookie year. His first season started off slowly, making 7 appearances off the bench in the team's first 34 games in extremely limited minutes, however in game 35 he got the opportunity to start against the LA Clippers and managed to register a double-double. This started an 8 game run for Sekou where he averaged 14 ppg and 5.25 rpg and featured a massive dunk on Cleveland's Tristian Thompson
After this 8 game run, his production declined and he was only able to put up double digit points once more in the final 24 games, eventually losing his starting spot.
The Pistons, under the management of new GM Troy Weaver, said goodbye to veterans Blake Griffin & Derrick Rose as well as Svi Mykhailiuk by March 2021, making Doumbouya the longest tenured Piston despite still being one of the youngest players in the league and in only his 2nd season. Despite the roster changes, Doumbouya saw his minute, point and rebound averages all decline in his sophomore year as the Pistons finished with 2nd worst record in the NBA.
After an unconvincing Summer League, GM Troy Weaver decided to cut loose the still young & raw Doumbouya, who was the last player on the roster he did not acquire in trading him to Brooklyn along with Jahill Okofor for DeAndre Jordan & 4 2nd round picks. Suddenly Sekou will not only be reunited with Bruce Brown & Blake Griffin but will also have the opportunity to learn from some of the NBA's best including Kevin Durant and have a very good shot at winning a ring.
In his 94 games to date, Doumbouya averages 5.6 points per game & 2.8 rebounds per game. He remains one of the the players around the league whose next few years I will continue to watch with much interest. Good luck Sekou.
MCAP Auto #11 - Austin Daye
2012-13 Panini Timeless Treasures - Validating Marks Autographs 008/199
Coming out of high school ranked as the 25th best player in the nation, Californian native Daye committed to Gonzaga. He spent 2 seasons with the Zags and earned WCC All-Freshman honours in his first season and All-WCC Honourable Mentions both years.
The son of former-NBA player Darren Daye (Bullets/Bulls/Celtics), Austin nominated for the 2009 NBA Draft and was selected 15th by the Detroit Pistons, a handful of picks before future All Stars Jrue Holiday & Jeff Teague.
A 6'11" small forward, Daye found himself on a veteran Pistons team who had just reloaded in free agency acquiring Charlie Villanueva & Ben Gordon, but was ineligible to make his debut opening night as he was suspended by the Association during pre-season for hitting Milwaukee's Carlos Delfino in the face.
Daye ended up coming off the bench to make 69 appearances his rookie season averaging 5.1 points & 2.5 rebounds as the Pistons failed to make the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade. He continued to progress in his sophomore season increasing his minutes to 20 per game as well as making 16 starts and averaging 7.5 points, 3.8 rebounds & 1.1 assists on 40% shooting from beyond the arc on a poor Detroit team.
The delayed start to the 2011 NBA Season due to a lockout saw Daye play in Russia for 2 months with Khimki but returned to the Motor City once the lockout was finished. Upon return he failed to impress new coach Lawrence Frank as he appeared in only 66% of games, and always off the bench. His impressive 3 point shot from the previous season also abandoned him with him shooting only 20% from deep.
In January of the following season the Pistons gave up on Daye, trading him and Tayshaun Prince to the Memphis Grizzlies in a 3 team deal for Jose Calderon (the main piece saw Rudy Gay move to Toronto).
From there Daye floated around the Association for a couple of seasons without making an impact. The Grizz took a look at him for 31 games before letting him walk as a free agent. The Raptors signed him for the 2013-14 season on a 2 year, $2m deal but traded him to the Spurs after only 8 appearances for Nando de Colo. Daye would go on to win a ring in San Antonio that season, but his playoff contribution was limited to 6 minutes & 1 rebound in a first round loss to the Mavericks.
The following season Daye would be cut by the Spurs in January, a week after putting up 22 points in a win over the T-wolves. He was then signed by the Atlanta Hawks after a couple of 10 day contracts, but was again cut after a lowly 8 appearances. His NBA experience would end in Cleveland the following season, cut after 6 pre-season games.
Daye then grabbed his passport and went travelling. Playing for sides in Italy, Bahrain, Turkey & Israel before returning to Italy where he currently ply's his trade in Venice. Since moving to Reyer Venezia, Daye has won the FIBA Europe Cup as well as the Italian League and Cup, named MVP on both occasions.
MCAP Auto #12 - Ben Gordon
2010-11 Panini Elite Black Box - Elite Series Signatures 03/10
Born in London, England to American parents, Gordon relocated back to the States as an infant. A talented player Gordon was ranked as a top 40 recruit coming out of high school and elected to attend UConn.
Gordon spent 3 years at UConn, improving each year. In his junior and final year he set the Big East Tournament Record with 81 total points and was named the tournaments Most Outstanding Performer. He would also go on to lead the field as the leading scorer in the NCAA Tournament (127 total points) as the Huskies would be named National Champions in 2004. Following this success he nominated for the 2004 NBA Draft.
Gordon, would be selected 3rd in the Draft by the Chicago Bulls, behind Dwight Howard (1st) and college teammate Emeka Okafor (2nd). He helped the Bulls overcome a horrible 3-14 start to finish 4th in the Eastern Conference. In his rookie year, he came off the bench averaging 15.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg and 2.0 apg whilst earning All-Rookie 1st Team honours and well as the Eastern Conference's Rookie of the Month three times. Most impressively he won the NBA's Sixth Man Award, the first rookie ever to do so mainly thanks to him scoring double figures in the last quarter 21 times during the season (2nd in the NBA behind LeBron James with 22). Chicago would go on to lose in their first playoff series post Michael Jordan 4-2 to the Washington Wizards.
Starting only 3 games in his rookie year, Gordon started just over half of Chicago's games in his second season and continued his upward trajectory. In increased minutes he averaged 16.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg and 3 apg, as well as shooting a career best 43.5% from deep including tying the NBA record for most consecutive three pointers made in a game with 9. Chicago once again made the playoffs and once again were bounced in the first round in 6 games, this time to eventual champions, the Miami Heat. Gordon started hot in the playoffs, putting up 35 points in Game 1 but he cooled for the remainder of the series, still managing to average 21 ppg in the process.
The shooting guard made a leap in his third season in the league, putting up 21.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg & 3.6 apg, although turnovers continued to plague him (as they did throughout his career). Gordon managed to score a career high 48 points in a game during this season and the Bulls once again went back to the playoffs. Once again they would meet the Miami Heat, however the result would be different this time as the Bulls swept Miami for their first playoff series win since 1998. Their sweep of the Heat saw them become the first team in NBA history to sweep the defending champs in the first round. Gordon would average over 25 ppg for the series, however this dropped to 17 ppg as they were eliminated by the Pistons in 6 games.
Before the start of the 2007-08 season Gordon turned down a contract extension with the Bulls believing he could make more in free agency. With high expectations after two straight playoff appearances, the Bulls spluttered to a 33-49 record with Gordon putting up 18.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg & 3.0 apg. The franchise then received a gift, winning the NBA Draft lottery with just a 1.7% chance however the news would not be necessarily good for Gordon with questions being raised as to how he would fit in around the score first PG draft pick Derrick Rose. Gordon would also have to settle for a 1 year $6.4m qualifying offer as he was unable to secure the contract he was looking for.
Led by Rose & Gordon the Bulls went on a late run to finish 41-41 and sneak into the playoffs as the 7th seed, matched up against the defending champion Boston Celtics in one of the most memorable first round matchups in recent history. The Bulls pushed the Celtics to 7 games in a series that featured 7 OT periods and 5 games decided by a bucket. Gordon went off for 42 in Game 2 (a game that did not feature OT) and led the Bulls in playoff scoring.
Coming off the back of the series, Gordon signed a 5 year $58m deal with the Detroit Pistons in a 6th man role and his career would never recover. Gordon would average only 13.8 ppg (less than his rookie year) and his three point shooting fell off a cliff. Having previously never shot below 40%, it fell to 32.1% as the Pistons struggled.
His deep shot returned above 40% the following seasons in Detroit but his scoring averages continued to fall to new lows as the Ben Gordon/Charlie Villanueva experiment went badly wrong in the Motor City. After 3 seasons in Detroit, the Pistons traded Gordon with a future 1st round pick to Charlotte for a washed up Corey Maggette.
Gordon came exclusively off the bench for the Bobcats. In his first year in Charlotte he averaged 11.2 ppg, shooting 38.7% from deep, however the following season it fell to 5.2 ppg & 27.6% and he was waived in March after 19 games. The following season the Magic signed Gordon to a 2 year, $9m deal but was waived after 1 season. The Warriors then picked him up but he was once again waived after 2 pre-season games, ending his NBA career.
Overall he averaged 14.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.5apg, 2.1 turnovers pg and a career average of 40.1% from deep.
Sadly Gordon has gone further down hill post-NBA career. Despite finally representing Great Britain in the 2017 EuroBasket qualifiers and also playing in the D League for the Texas Legends his story is since marred with incidents. In June 2017 he was arrested in his Los Angeles apartment after pulling several firearms. Later that year in October, police were called to his business for an altercation with a woman and found the woman in tears and shaking whilst Gordon was spotted holding a boxcutter. Gordon was not arrested but was hospitalised for psychiatric evaluation. The following month Gordon was once again arrested on a felony robbery charge as Gordon allegedly punched his apartment manager, as well as pulling a knife and taking money from him, which Gordon claims was his security deposit. A week previous he was arrested in Manhattan for driving with a forged license plate.
In 2020, Gordon disclosed being diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffering with his mental health, including a suicide attempt in an article he penned on The Players Tribune entitled "Where is My Mind?".
Let's hope Ben Gordon continues to work through his issues and the dark times of the recent past, are just that, the past.
Thanks to @TAB1980 for the generous donation to the collection!