Over the last three games, Malik Dime is averaging 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks while shooting 82.6 percent from the field.
Malik Dime is downright goofy.
You wouldn’t know it by watching him play for the Washington men’s basketball team because he’s a menace inside the paint on both ends of the court.
Offensively, the 6-foot-9 forward scores many of his baskets on dunks and shoots 57.1 percent from the field.
USC @ UW men, noon, Pac-12 Networks
And on defense, he’s become a rising star while making a run at the Huskies’ season blocks record.
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But off the court, the native of Dakar, Senegal, with the towering high-top fade haircut and baritone voice, is a comic at heart.
Just ask him.
“The guys on the team say I’m funny, but I really don’t know,” he said laughing. “They just laugh at anything I say. Maybe it’s because I don’t speak English like they do.”
Dime is fluent in five languages — English, Spanish, French, Arabic and Wolof — and two native dialects. Like many boys growing up in Africa, his first love was soccer and he played the sport as a youngster until he kept growing and found success on the basketball court.
He moved to the United States as a teenager and attended high school in Ohio and a prep school in North Carolina before playing two years at Indian Hills Community College in Iowa.
While recruiting Quevyn Winters, the Huskies noticed Dime and their relationship began. He chose Washington over Iowa State, Rutgers and Arkansas.
Even though Dime had a sensational career at Indian Hills, where he had 187 blocks, shot better than 62 percent from the field and helped the Warriors to a 63-8 record, he was overshadowed by Washington’s four-star freshmen in a heralded 2015 class ranked sixth nationally by Scout.com and 12th by ESPN.
But after 13 games, Dime is stepping into the spotlight.
Over the last three games, he’s averaging 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks while shooting 82.6 percent from the field.
He ranks third in the Pac-12 with 36 blocks and is on pace to finish the regular season with 83, which would be good for second place on UW’s season blocks list behind Robert Upshaw, who set the mark last season with 85 blocks in 19 games.
What makes Dime even more unique is the fact that he doesn’t start and averages just 21.4 minutes, which ranks seventh among the Huskies.
Washington freshmen forwards Marquese Chriss and Noah Dickerson have started every game for the Huskies, but due to foul trouble or matchups, Dime has been on the court recently at the end of games.
“If you’re looking for a guy to protect the rim at the end of games or in close games, he’s certainly the best that we have to go out there,” coach Lorenzo Romar said. “We have Marquese and Noah playing well and they do things well in their own right.
“We kind of go with what’s going in that particular game. If a guy gets in foul trouble, then that game could be different. But guarantee Malik is going to be right in there. He may as well be a starter. He just doesn’t hear his name called at the beginning of games.”
Heading into Sunday’s noon game against USC (12-2, 1-0 Pac-12) at Alaska Airlines Arena, Washington (9-4, 1-0) is tied for the national lead with 92 blocked shots, thanks in part to Dime.
“He has tremendous timing,” Romar said. “He has a 7-foot, 4-inch wingspan. Even though he’s a good athlete and he gets off the floor, because of his reach he can get up there and wait kind of like a cobra. He can strike at any point from any position.”
It’s impossible not to make comparisons between Dime and Upshaw.
“He doesn’t get as much publicity as Rob did, but he’s almost doing the same thing,” senior guard Andrew Andrews said. “Not as many blocks as Rob and not in the same fashion, but for us he does the same thing. Every time someone goes to the paint and he’s in the game you feel like it’s going to be a block so we’re getting ready to go out on a break.”
Romar added: “In terms of just a shot blocker, Rob is the best I’ve been around. But what Malik does is he can switch out on the guards. He can front when we pick up full court. He’s probably a little more versatile in terms of a defender.”
|Protecting the rim|
|Here’s a look at how Malik Dime compares to UW’s season block leaders:|
|1, Robert Upshaw||2014-15||4.5||85|
|2. David Dixon||2001-02||2.3||67|
|4. Chris Welp||1986-87||1.8||63|
|16. Malik Dime||2015-16||2.8||36|