Syracuse center Bourama Sidibe has specialized in rebounds and fouls

Sidibe UNC
Feb. 29, 2020; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange center Bourama Sidibe (34) defends against North Carolina Tar Heels guard Leaky Black (1) during a 92-79 loss. Mandatory Credit: Initra Marilyn, The Juice Online.

Bourama Sidibe has never been a leading man in his nearly three years at Syracuse. Heck, he has hardly been more than a bit player in his three seasons.

The junior center logged 666 minutes on the floor in his first two seasons in Orange and has just surpassed that amount of time this season, his first as a starter. His stat line for this campaign does not have any superlatives, resembling a journeyman’s efforts – 5.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.

In fact, that rebounding figure just became tops on SU’s roster, as Sidibe recently passed Marek Dolezaj for team-leading honors. That comes as no great surprise, as Sidibe has 35 boards in the last three games. Likely more impressive is that he has two double-doubles in those outings, finishing with 13 points, ten boards, and four blocks at Pitt on Wednesday, then adding 17 points, 15 rebounds, and six blocked shots on Saturday against North Carolina as part of his best career outing.

Sidibe’s strong play in the last ten days has been a bonus, pushing his totals to six double-digit rebounding efforts and three double-doubles on the season. Sidibe had one double-double in each of his first two seasons and one other double figure rebounding game as a freshman (also against the Tar Heels).

While Sidibe has not been noticeably productive because he’s neither a prolific scorer or shotblocker, the rebounding has been there this season. With a few exceptions, that rebounding has not been that noticeable due to one place where Sidibe has been prolific – committing fouls.

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Sidibe’s 7.1 rebounds per game stands 13th in the ACC on the season, which is made more impressive by the fact that he plays only 23.4 minutes per game due to persistent foul trouble. Averaging 4.1 fouls per game, the center has committed at least four fouls in the last dozen games and has been disqualified from more games (nine) than he has finished with three or fewer fouls (five).

How impressive is Sidibe’s rebounding on a per-minute basis? Extremely. Here is the list of Syracuse players who have grabbed over 11 rebounds per 40 minutes while playing a minimum of 500 total minutes and over 15 minutes per game in the last 20 seasons:

  • Hakim Warrick (2001-02) – 11.0 reb/40 minutes, 609 minutes (17.4/game)
  • Carmelo Anthony (2002-03) – 11.0 reb/40 minutes, 1,274 minutes (36.4/game)
  • Paul Harris (2006-07) – 13.1 reb/40 minutes, 758 minutes (21.7/game)
  • Terrence Roberts (2006-07) – 11.2 reb/40 minutes, 950 minutes (28.8/game)
  • Kristof Ongenaet (2008-09) – 12.6 reb/40 minutes, 516 minutes (15.2/game)
  • Rick Jackson (2010-11) – 11.6 reb/40 minutes, 1,245 minutes (35.6/game)
  • Tyler Roberson (2015-16) – 11.0 reb/40 minutes, 1,140 minutes (30.8/game)
  • Bourama Sidibe (2019-20) – 12.2 reb/40 minutes, 679 minutes (23.4/game)

While I am not suggesting he is anywhere near program legend Carmelo Anthony or even Big East Defensive Player of the Year Rick Jackson, Sidibe has been a very strong rebounder. If you think Sidibe has puffed up his stats against weaker competition this season, please note he is averaging 11.3 rebounds per 40 minutes in ACC games.

So, while he does not posterize people at the rim or even have a polished offensive game, Bourama Sidibe has been an extremely productive player for SU this season and not just in the fouls column.

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Jim Stechschulte
About Jim Stechschulte 617 Articles
A 1996 graduate of Syracuse University, Jim has reported on Syracuse sports for the Syracuse University Alumni Club of Southern California on nearly a decade, where he currently resides. He has also written a fantasy basketball column published by NBA.com. Follow him on Twitter @DSafetyGuy.