PROVO — If new BYU basketball coach Mark Pope was still in the running for four-star Wasatch Academy big man Mady Sissoko, an incident that occurred during a recruiting visit this past weekend may have ended that courtship.
Sissoko, the 6-foot-10 power forward who was born in Mali, West Africa, broke his hand Friday while riding ATVs at BYU, multiple sources with direct knowledge of the incident confirmed to KSL.com.
The sources asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak publicly about the incident, and Wasatch Academy coach David Evans declined to comment. BYU cannot comment on the incident because it involves multiple unsigned recruits of the basketball program.
But the incident occurred Friday when Sissoko was riding an ATV with Pope and other recruits of the program. The four-star prospect was falling from his "RZR" vehicle on the side, and in an attempt to catch himself, he landed awkwardly on his hand.
Sissoko’s basketball career is far from over, but the break is likely to keep him out for close to six months — which may explain why Evans and the Tigers declined to comment. Wasatch Academy plays as an independent member of the Utah High School Activities Association, meaning they can schedule in-state opponents but are ineligible from postseason competition.
The Tigers made the agreement so they could play a national schedule, and they’ve attended high-profile events like Geico National Championships and the Tournament of Champions.
Because of the timing of the injury, Sissoko — who averaged 12.5 points, 8.9 rebounds as a junior in 2018-19 — should be eligible to return for at least part of his senior season with the Tigers. But there is some concern over how much time he will miss, one source noted.
In addition to BYU, Sissoko was being recruited by some of college basketball’s blue bloods: Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State, UCLA, Texas Tech and North Carolina State, among others.
More concerning for the Cougars, then, might be the impact the incident has on the local recruiting scene. Pope and his staff are also recruiting several of Sissoko’s teammates from the Mount Pleasant-based boarding school, including 6-foot-8 forward Caleb Lohner, a top 50-rated player by ESPN who is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and 6-foot-5 shooting guard Richie Saunders.
Wasatch Academy released a statement Thursday confirming that Sissoko had been injured while on a recruiting visit to BYU.
"At this time we do not have any comment or can provide any information regarding diagnosis, prognosis, recovery time, or his return to basketball activities or any future effects from the injury," the statement continued. "Regardless, his medical attention is being monitored daily and the Wasatch Academy community will be assisting Mady as he recovers from his injury, achieves his academic goals, and eventually returns to his passionate pursuits as an elite level basketball player."