Incoming Pitt freshman Karim Coulibaly will be in Heraklion, Greece, over the next few days to represent Mali in the FIBA U19 World Cup. However, this will not be the 6’8”, 215-pound power forward’s first time performing at the international level, as he also took part in the FIBA U18 African Championship in 2018 and played a key role in Mali’s continental title run.
During last year’s competition, which qualified Mali for the 2019 World Cup in Greece, Coulibaly averaged 13.6 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.6 steals over a span of 22.2 minutes per game. He also set a single-game high for rebounds in the tournament, as he grabbed 24 in Mali’s win over Angola. In addition, he made 48 of his 89 shots for a 58.7 field-goal percentage and posted three double-doubles.
While exceptional, Coulibaly’s performance was not a departure from the norm, as he distinguished himself throughout his prep career at Scotland Campus. There, the native of Bamako, Mali, scored more than 1,000 points and set records for career points, career rebounds, single-game points and single-game rebounds. He also led the team to an appearance in the National Prep Championship and a final record of 36-2, as he averaged 15.6 points and 11.4 rebounds per game while shooting 64.2 percent from the field.
Mali is set to face Latvia on Saturday, Canada on Sunday and Australia next Tuesday. In order, Mali’s opponents are ranked 13th, second, and 10th in the world, according to FIBA, and each team has an average height of 6’6”. For comparison, Mali is ranked 27th in the world and has an average height of 6’5”. Also notable is the fact that the matchup with Canada will pit Coulibaly against Tyrese Samuel, a 6’8” power forward and former Pitt target who ultimately committed to Seton Hall.
After the conclusion of group play, tournament play in the World Cup will begin next Wednesday and continue until July 7.