Leaving his family in Africa, Long Beach State men’s basketball player Lassina Traore’s hard work paid off after being named the Big West Newcomer of the Year and tying the program record for double-doubles in a season.
Dedicating a big part of your life to any sport in order to have results takes effort and Traore is well aware of the sacrifices that he’s had to make in his life.
“Leaving my home, coming from Africa is not easy. I sacrifice a lot being away from my family,” Traore said. “I would love to be with my mom and my brothers right now and I’m not.”
He understands he’s sacrificed a lot so far and will continue to do the same until he reaches his goals.
“I’m here because I have my own goals and dreams too, I want to realize my dreams,” Traore said.
Those same sacrifices that Traore has made, he keeps present to turn them into motivation.
“Africa, that’s the main point, being from Africa or knowing my farmers’ tuition and seeing what I saw, seeing what I’ve been through, I don’t want to go back to where I was before,” Traore said.
He finished the season with 17 double-doubles and ranked fifth in the nation for rebounding.
Training every day is a big part of obtaining these accomplishments and Traore said he sees practices as a party.
“I feel it’s really a blessing to be here. I wasn’t planning on doing it, I wasn’t planning on making it just happened. It’s just the hard work,” Traore said.
Another men’s basketball player Aboubacar Traore who received the Big West Hustle Player of the year award helps push Traore to be better all around.
The two grew up in the same town in the Ivory Coast and played high school basketball together before reuniting at Long Beach State. Though they share the same last name the two are unrelated.
“It’s a fight, it’s a battle every day, I’m going against my brother, I work out, he’s already pushing me to be a better person on the court and off the court,” Lassina Traore said.
Going into practice every day with an attitude of appreciation coming from a country where basketball and life differ so different than here in the US adds a freshness of energy and desire to the team. It’s what LBSU men’s basketball head coach Dan Monson see’s him bringing to the team.
“The fact that everything here is a gift and they’re so appreciative of the opportunity and every day comes with just a great attitude to learn and attitude to get better,” Monson said.
Monson acknowledges how Traore had some difficulty at the beginning as the game was really fast for him which he noticed frustrated Traore but he continued constantly working to improve.
As for future goals, Traore prefers to take it one day at a time and let things come naturally.
“We’re going to talk to them (coaches) to see what the future has for me and I’m probably going to be here for a while, I’m not really rushing anything,” Traore said.