Standing at 6’5, Fatou Diagne was never comfortable with her height until she discovered basketball at the age of 14.
Having grown up near the SEED Academy facility in Thies, Senegal, she aspired to one day be a member of the prestigious prep school (the first basketball student-athlete academy in Africa). However, without a SEED girls team and limited opportunities for girls to play basketball in Senegal, she did not know if her dreams would ever come true. When SEED Girls launched in 2013, Fatou was one of the first girls to attend the tryout, and impressed the coaches with her work ethic and drive to succeed.
Fatou entered SEED Academy’s inaugural girls class as a senior in high school - an extremely challenging year for Senegalese students. Seniors are required to pass the daunting BAC exam (31% national pass rate) to move on to college. Despite attracting interest from top universities in the U.S. to attend school on a basketball scholarship, Fatou failed the exam and was forced to repeat her senior year.
Fatou returned to SEED in 2014 and, to her surprise, was elected captain of the team. She fought through adversity and had an outstanding year that culminated with her passing the BAC and earning a scholarship to attend Florida Gulf Coast Junior College in the U.S -- Fatou is the first SEED Girl to attend university in the U.S.
In her first year (2015-16) at Florida Gulf Coast she helped lead her team to a #1 National Ranking and a NJCAA National Championship. And just this past month, Fatou announced that she will be signing with the Purdue Boilermakers, one of the top teams in the country, where she will compete for the next three years.
While basketball has played a significant role in her life, it does not define her. Fatou wishes to return to Senegal after university and invest in her country’s development. Specifically, she wants to create more opportunities for young women to succeed in her country and to make sure that all young Senegalese girls have the same opportunity to play sports and go to school like her male classmates.