BYU’s Fousseyni Traore Continues To Pile Up WCC Freshman Honors

Jan 24, 2022, 1:19 PM
BYU Basketball - Fousseyni Traore...
Brigham Young Cougars forward Fousseyni Traore (45) tries to grab a rebound in Provo on Saturday, Jan. 22, 2022. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball freshman Fousseyni Traore continues to shine in his first year with the Cougars.

On Monday, the 6-foot-6, 254-pound forward who holds down the five spot for BYU earned his third WCC Freshman of the Week honor. Traore, a native of Mali, shared this week’s recognition with Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren.

It’s fitting as both players have emerged as the top freshmen in the WCC this season.

Everyone in the WCC expected Holmgren’s success as he was the nation’s No. 1 recruit and projected NBA lottery pick. Traore, however, has been thrust into a role that no one expected him to be playing this soon. Even BYU coach Mark Pope marvels at what the 4.0 GPA student-athlete has been able to accomplish in a short time. Pope believes Traore has helped save BYU’s season.

Last week, Traore put together two double-doubles in a pair of victories over San Diego and Portland at the Marriott Center. On Saturday, the win against Portland saw Traore score 13 points on perfect 6-of-6 shooting from the field to go along with 10 rebounds. What made the performance even more special for the former Wasatch Academy standout is that it took place on his birthday.

Holmgren scored 22 points, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked four shots in Gonzaga’s 78-62 win over San Francisco last Thursday in The Kennel.

The 7-foot, 195-pound big man for the Zags, has earned WCC Freshman Player of the Week honors six times this season. Traore is the only other freshman in the league to have won the recognition more than twice this season.

Fousseyni Traore continues to lift up BYU basketball

Since inserting Traore into the starting lineup in a win over Liberty on December 25, BYU is 7-1 in those eight games. Two of those victories have come against projected NCAA Tournament teams in Saint Mary’s and San Francisco.

To date this season, Traore is averaging 8.6 points, 8.1 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.

BYU and Traore return to action this week when they face Santa Clara (Thursday) and Pacific (Saturday) on the road.

WCC Men’s Basketball Freshman of the Week for 2021-22 season

November 15: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

November 22: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

November 29: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

December 6: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

December 13: Houston Mallette, Pepperdine

December 20: Mike Mitchell Jr., Pepperdine

December 27: Fousseyni Traore, BYU

January 3: Nolan Hickman, Gonzaga

January 11: Fousseyni Traore, BYU

January 17: Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

January 24: Chet Holmgren & Fousseyni Traore

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper. 

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BYU’s Fousseyni Traore Continues To Pile Up WCC Freshman Honors