CONCORDIA, Kansas — Standing at six-feet, eight-inches tall and tipping the scales at 210 pounds, the Cloud County Community College men's basketball team's starting power forward, sophomore Cherif Fall, can be an intimidating presence.
But the native of Dakar, Senegal is a gentle giant away from the basketball court. He's a soft-spoken, humble and personable young man who aimed to make the most out of his opportunity in Concordia, Kansas.
Fall was rewarded for his hard work Wednesday in the classroom, on campus and especially on the basketball court as he signed his National Letter of Intent to play at Coppin State University next season in Baltimore, Maryland.
"I'm really excited for Cherif Fall. He's one of the really good guys I've ever coached. He's been a great ambassador for Cloud County Community College, served as a Student Ambassador last year, and I'd venture to say he is one of the more popular guys on campus," said Cloud County head coach, Chad Eshbaugh. "For him to get the opportunity to continue his athletic and academic career at the Division I level is great. Coppin State is not only getting a great player, but it is getting an even better person."
Fall played in all 31 games for the T-Birds his freshman season, starting in four of them, where he averaged 1.6 points per game in limited minutes. So far in 2016-16, Fall has started all four games for the undefeated T-Birds, averaging 3.5 points per game and shooting 58 percent from the floor.
While his offensive game is still developing, Fall shines on the defensive end of the floor as he provides a big body and a disciplined paint protector. Fall has only committed three fouls in four games and has averaged 4.8 rebounds per game, including eight Tuesday night in Cloud County's 108-67 drubbing of Bethany College JV.
"This means a lot to me. Coming from Senegal, then playing basketball here, the only thing I've wanted is to play Division I basketball. This is what I wanted to do and I feel blessed to have the opportunity," said Fall, who plans on majoring in International Business at Coppin State.
In addition to the beauty of the Baltimore area, it was the Bald Eagles' coaching staff, headed up by Michael Grant, and their style of play that won him over on his visit.
"I like the system they play. They had a scrimmage the day of my visit and I liked how the guys played and I think it's going to be the right fit for me," Fall said.
The signing comes as a huge relief for Fall, who said he doesn't have to worry about where he's going next year and can concentrate on helping the T-Birds as they try to challenge in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference.
"Knowing that I have a home to go to for the next two years is really exciting," Fall said. "I don't need to worry about next year because I know exactly where I'm going. I can focus on this year and help Cloud County win games."