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Moussa Cisse to transfer back to Memphis basketball after 3-year absence

Moussa Cisse’s college career has officially come full circle. (Image Credit: Memphis Athletics)
By Roman Cleary - May 10, 2024, 2:37 pm - 1 comments

It took him three years to commit to doing so, but Moussa Cisse will play a second year with Memphis basketball.

Sources confirm to Bluff City Media that the 7-foot center will transfer back to Memphis for the 2024-25 season. He joins Tulsa guard PJ Haggerty, Illinois center Dain Dainja, Wichita State guard Colby Rogers, Texas guard Tyrese Hunter, George Mason guard Baraka Okojie and SMU forward Tyreek Smith in the Tigers’ transfer portal class. Cisse enters next season with one year of eligibility remaining.

He began his collegiate career at Memphis in 2020-21, and averaged 6.6 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 28 starts during a pandemic-laden campaign. He also helped Penny Hardaway’s club win the 2021 National Invitational Tournament (NIT) before entering the transfer portal in April 2021.

A former top-10 recruit in the Class of 2020, Cisse played this past season at Ole Miss where he put up 4.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. The former Lausanne Collegiate School standout, however, played just 17.5 minutes per contest for Chris Beard’s Rebels. He’s never played more than 22.6 minutes per game throughout his entire collegiate career.

The Conakry, Guinea native missed Ole Miss’ first six games because of eligibility issues, but the NCAA declared Cisse eligible to play about an hour before the Rebels’ matchup with NC State on Nov. 28. He didn’t actually make his Ole Miss debut, however, until Hardaway’s Tigers visited Oxford on Dec. 2.

Memphis’ Malcolm Dandridge, one of Cisse’s former teammates, certainly recognized the irony of the situation and capitalized emphatically. The 6-foot-9 center sent the SJB Pavilion into a frenzy by posterizing Cisse with a one-handed slam in the first half, though Ole Miss got the last laugh over Memphis with a 80-77 victory. Cisse finished the game with 2 points and 5 rebounds.

Cisse and the Rebels started the season 13-0 and received an Associated Press (AP) Top 25 ranking several weeks in a row. But they won just seven games in SEC play and declined an NIT bid after losing to Texas A&M in their conference tournament opener last month.

Cisse also spent two seasons at Oklahoma State right after leaving Memphis. He won the 2022 Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year award as a true sophomore, and earned another conference All-Defensive Team selection in 2023. He made 46 starts in 61 total appearances for the Cowboys.

The 21-year-old projects as a backup big man for Memphis next season. Like Smith, his tremendous shot-blocking, rim-running and overall defensive prowess should complement Dainja’s bruising, offensive style nicely. So, the Tigers’ frontcourt likely sees a major improvement in 2024-25, as all three of its new additions bring skill sets the unit simply didn’t have last year.

Memphis is expected to lose Jahvon Quinerly, Nae’Qwan Tomlin, Caleb Mills, Jordan Brown, Jayden Hardaway and Dandridge due to expired eligibility. It’s also losing Jonathan Pierre, Jayhlon Young, Carl Cherenfant, Ashton Hardaway and Jaykwon Walton to the transfer portal, so Penny Hardaway must replace at least four more players this offseason with Haggerty, Dainja, Rogers, Hunter, Okojie, Smith and Cisse onboard for next year.

Forward Nick Jourdain, a rising senior, publicly announced his return to Memphis back in February. The Tigers can also bring back star forward David Jones, who declared for the 2024 NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility last month. Jones has until May 29 to withdraw his name from the draft and return to school.

Walk-on guards Joe Cooper and Noah Stansbury could also come back next season. Four-star guard Jared Harris is the program’s only incoming high school recruit as of now.


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