It didn’t take long for Mouhamed Gueye to become a professional basketball prospect.

The big man from Senegal, who picked up the sport about five years ago, declared for the NBA draft on Sunday afternoon after an impressive freshman season at Washington State. Gueye will retain his collegiate eligibility and could return to the Pullman school if he withdraws his name from the draft pool by June 1.

“I am staying in pursuit of my ultimate goal this spring while understanding that any feedback I receive through the process will make me an even better player in the future,” Gueye wrote in a social media post.

The 6-foot-11 Gueye was named to the Pac-12’s all-freshman team after averaging 7.4 points and 5.2 rebounds per game across 35 appearances – 33 starts – during one of the best rookie seasons in Cougars history. He tied WSU legend Klay Thompson’s program record for starts as a freshman and recorded top-five totals among WSU freshmen all time in rebounding (181) and blocks (33).

“I just adapted throughout this season,” Gueye said last month. “I adapted to a new program, a new place.”

Gueye told The Spokesman-Review he first took an interest in basketball at age 14 in Dakar, Senegal, after his older brother encouraged him to try it . He trained with local players and attended camps before being discovered by a coach with a connection to Prolific Prep, a prestigious hoops-focused academy in Napa, California.

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Gueye signed on with Prolific and played two seasons there, attracting major interest. He finished his high school career as a four-star prospect and ranked as the No. 34 recruit nationally in the 2022 class, according to 247Sports.com. Gueye completed his academic requirements early and reclassified, then became one of WSU’s highest-ranked recruits in program history and helped the team to its most successful season in a decade. Though inexperienced and admittedly raw in some facets, Gueye’s pro potential shined through often this season before a late ankle injury limited his usage down the stretch.

His length made for effective rim protection and his offensive versatility surely caught the attention of some scouts. Gueye thrived in the pick-and-roll game and could score using conventional means in the post, but he also exhibited a shooting touch from midrange and tried the occasional three-pointer.

Gueye shot 49% from the field and 7 of 25 from distance on the year. NBA scouts will probably tell him to work on his free-throw shooting. Gueye went 33 of 67 (49.3%) from the foul line.

His most memorable performance came Feb. 23 versus Washington, when he put up 23 midrange jumpers to exploit a weakness in the Huskies’ zone and knocked down 11, finishing with a season-high 25 points in the Cougs’ win. Gueye’s co-starter in the WSU frontcourt this year, Efe Abogidi, declared for the NBA draft earlier this month and entered the NCAA’s transfer portal shortly afterward.