Daffe, Tevis knock out Thacher,
by Misty Volaski
Not all valley teams are created equal, spectators discovered
last week in Thacher's boys' varsity basketball game vs. Villanova.
However, "It was close throughout the game, though we (Villanova)
pulled away in the fourth quarter," Wildcat head coach Matt
Dunn said of his team. The first half closed with Villanova only
two points ahead of the Toads, though the Wildcats were eventually
able to gain several more baskets in the last minutes.
Thacher came out strong with six three-pointers to Villanova's
lone three-pointer, but it was the force of Djadji Daffe, Clark
Tevis and Cole Gibson that ultimately brought Villanova the win.
Daffe ripped through the Toad defense to score 31 points and
nab 26 rebounds, while fellow Wildcat Tevis had 13 points and
scored Villanova's only three-pointer.
Not to be outdone, Graham Dauds of Thacher netted 16 points,
scoring a large portion of Thacher's 45 points. Thacher finished
up their season with a 6-10-0 record.
The win helps the 'Cats retain their undefeated status in the
Condor League. They will go to California Interscholastic Federation
playoffs this weekend, where they will go head-to-head with Holy
Martyrs Friday at home at 7:30 p.m.
More on Djadji Daffe
It's not easy to be a starter for Villanova's varsity basketball
team and excel in school at the same time - especially if you
are French, and all of your classes are in taught in English.
But Villanova junior Djadji Daffe (pronounced Ja-jee Duh-fay)
does all this and more. On the court, Daffe's 6-foot-5-inch presence
could intimidate just about anyone. He leads the entire Southern
Section in rebounds - topping even the toughest Division I players
in rebounds per game. That's saying a lot, as Villanova is a
Division VAA team. Daffe's fluid movements make him a real force
on the court.
"He's a great team guy. He's our best defender in a long
time," Varsity basketball coach Matt Dunn said. "He's
a good leader in terms of competitiveness. He's everything you
could ask for." Eighteen-year-old Daffe has been playing
basketball since he was 8 at the suggestion of a friend. "I
couldn't play soccer at all, so my friend said I should try basketball,"
But schools in France really push academics, and as Daffe got
better at basketball, he decided to try a Kentucky school. "But
I really didn't like it there," he noted. Again, at the
request of a friend, Daffe looked into Villanova, and has been
there ever since.
As his teachers all agree, Daffe works just as hard off the court
as he does on it. The C+/B- student is taking all-English classes
and hopes to attend UCLA after Villanova.
"We're really proud of his academics and athletics. He's
just got a great attitude," Dunn said.
© 2002 The Ojai Valley News
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DJADJI DAFFE TOWERS over Thacher's players last week as he goes
for the basket. Daffe is Villanova's top rebounder, leading the
Wildcats to the win against the Toads, 58-45.