Francky Naguidebe: Undeniable All-Star


Courtesy of Donna Hoegler

Zachary Grover, Sports Editor

By Zachary Grover

Sports Editor
  One dribble. Then a second; then a third. In a flash, 6’9” Senior Francky Naguidebe is soaring through the air. Time stands still. Eyes are wide and jaws are dropped in anticipation. The crowd is on the edge of their seats. Everyone is brought back to reality by the unmistakable sound of a basketball being dunked. The fans lose their minds as the PA announcer screams, “Francky Naguidebe!”

   Naguidebe has been irreplaceable for the Centurions this season. Naguidebe is averaging a double-double with 19.8 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, including shooting a staggering 31 percent from beyond the three point line. On defense, he leads the Centurions at just over half a block per game, according to a high school sports statistics website ( 

   The impact Naguidebe has on the court is not lost on the coaching staff. Head Coach Alex Golland summed it up best, asserting, “Francky is everything for us.” “Our defensive rim protector, an offensive juggernaut, a rebounding machine,” Golland continued. It has become common to see at least one scout or coach from some college at games to see Naguidebe’s skillset in person. Naguidebe’s hope is to play at San Diego State University, UCLA, Duke, or another distinguished college basketball program, and then continue on to the next level. “The dream is the NBA,” Naguidebe stated, certain of himself.  

   As the star of the team, Naguidebe could easily let an ego get in the way of team success. Golland said what he appreciates most about Naguidebe is his unselfishness and his willingness to make his teammates better all while going all out on the court. “He’s a great teammate and role model for younger players, and he’s a warrior,” Golland said. “He embodies what we want out of our players.” Naguidebe does all this while being matched up every game against the opposing team’s biggest player, enduring the physicality that comes with playing basketball, and many times a little extra. 

   Naguidebe was first drawn to the game of basketball at a very young age after seeing basketball highlights on YouTube. Originally from Africa, Naguidebe has definitely had a more unique path to this point in his athletic career than most high schoolers. However, he has not let his circumstances get in the way of his dreams. While playing in a basketball tournament in Congo with the under 14 Central African Republic National Team, Naguidebe was recruited to play basketball and go to school in Washington, Pennsylvania. Naguidebe jumped at the opportunity, and insisted that basketball helped him with the transition to a brand new environment. 

   “The change was a little scary because it was new. All new people, new food I had never tasted before, and having to learn how to speak and understand a new language,” Naguidebe said.  Looking back, Naguidebe wouldn’t change it for the world. “I’m very glad I came to the US,” he said, smiling. 

   Naguidebe is at home on the hardwood. “I love just being on the court the most,” he said, “and dunks, dunks are cool too,” he chuckled. A Naguidebe dunk is truly a sight to behold. Junior Guard Pavle Ristic shared his point of view, “Every time he has the ball, the gym freezes. Francky is like the defibrillator that brings everyone back to life. When he dunks, it’s absolutely electric.”

   Dunking a basketball is hard. Many people lack the physical attributes it takes to throw it down. So, asking on behalf of most of the world, how does it feel? “Like flying or jumping down stairs while throwing the ball in a hoop,” according to Naguidebe. Naguidebe doesn’t plan on slowing down anytime soon. The dunks and great plays will keep coming, and we will see them again — probably on SportsCenter.