AS Douanes

AS Douanes to dance to their own beat at BAL Seaon 4

ASSOCIATION Sportives des Douanes, or simply AS Douanes, head into Season 4 of the Basketball Africa League (BAL) as hosts of the Sahara Conference and a household name in BAL. 

The Big Tip Off previews the BAL Season 3 finalists. 

Team: AS Douanes 

Country: Senegal

History: The Senegalese club, founded in 1980, has a rich history. Nicknamed Les Gabelous, the team participates in the Nationale Division 1 (NM1). They are Senegal’s most successful team, having won thirty-six trophies. They have won the NM1 for a record eleven times. Their most successful continental outing was finishing as runners-up in the 2023 BAL season after a tough defeat to Egyptian giants Al Ahly. 

Route to BAL: Senegal is the host nation of the Sahara Conference, and their clubs only need to win their national championship to gain automatic qualification for the BAL. 

Coach: Senegalese coach Pabi Gueye has been at the helm for 11 years. The Senegalese now coaches the team he once played for and helped win several NM1 titles. He saw his team do exceedingly well when he trusted the local talent. It allowed the talents of Jean Jacques Boissy to flourish. The coach had a successful season but ultimately fell short in the finals. 

Pabi Gueye during BAL season 3
Pabi Gueye will be expected to lead AS Douanes to the BAL title. Pictures: FIBA

Gueye won the Coach of the Year award after the successful campaign. There is no doubt that the former Senegal coach will not only try to repeat this feat but also try to lead his team to the finals and lift the trophy this time around.

Star player: Jean Jacques Boissy is the star player for the Senegalese outfit. He is a local talent who initially came off the bench in the BAL 2023. 

Boissy’s performances (13 points per game) convinced Pabi Gueye that he deserved a starting role last year. His performance landed him a contract with Aurore Vitré in France. 

Boissy earned the All-BAL First Team and BAL All-Defensive First Team in the 2023 season. He is young and ambitious. He will be looking to lift the trophy and to make himself a household name in African basketball.

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Boissy’s star on the rise in African basketball

Douanes in good shape ahead of Beira battle

AT 15 years old, Senegalese player Jean Jacques Boissy realised he could reach great heights in basketball, and now at 23, his career is skyrocketing. sHe has also had the opportunity to play in some of the game’s biggest stages.

From the time his father introduced him to the game, Boissy has seen his star rise in African basketball. The AS Douanes player, who spoke to The Big Tip Off during the week, is in Kigali, Rwanda for his club AS Douanes BAL playoff campaign. Before speaking on the Basketball Africa League (BAL), the floor general talked about where it all began. He also reflected on the steps he took to get to where is today.

“My dad introduced me to the game. He used to take me to the courts with him when I was a kid. He continues to be my greatest inspiration and I am grateful that he introduced me to basketball,” said Boissy, who spoke glowingly of his father. “I first started out as footballer, but at 15 locked into basketball. It has become a passion for me and a safe space. I am addicted to it. And when I am not playing, something is not right within.”

Jean Jacques Boissy says it was a good decision to join AS Douanes. Pictures: Getty Images

He gathered experience playing for his country, Senegal, at the 2018 FIBA Under-18 African Championships (Bamako, Mali) and the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup (Crete, Greece).

Boissy also represented the West African nation at the 2021 FIBA AfroBasket (Rwanda). He was recently part of the Lions of Teranga’s marathon journey of attempting to qualify for this year’s FIBA World Cup (Philippines, Japan and Indonesia), which ended in February.

While it was disappointing for Senegal not to qualify for the World Cup, Boissy says the experience of playing for the national team helped him prepare for the BAL.

“Playing for our junior national team taught me how to handle pressure at an early age because I played against top countries and a lot of international prospects within my age group at the time,” said the 6ft0 (1.83m) player. “About the World Cup qualifiers … Yeah, it was disappointing not to qualify. But there were some positives to take from the experience. I grew as a person. I believe I am a better teammate. The experience helped improved my game. And with these new skills, I want to contribute to my team’s campaign at the BAL.”

Before joining AS Douanes, Boissy had a stint in the Spanish LEB Silver playing for Cornella. He believes signing for AS Douanes for the BAL was a great move that can also open new doors for him.

“I think a made the best decision by joining AS Douanes for this season. I had one thing in mind when I came back from Spain: to improve my game and to get exposure. During the local championship, I proved I could be an asset to the team, and I want to win with them,” said Boissy an MVP of the Coupe St Michel.

In March, Douanes, who enjoyed home support in the Sahara Conference of the BAL and finished with a 3-2 record and were second in their group. Boissy, who improved with every game, was a vital cog in helping his club secure their passage to Kigali.

He shared his thoughts about playing at home in Dakar: “This is my first BAL competition. It has been one of my dreams to play on this stage and the dream has now come true. Playing in my country, in front of thousands of fans, including my family was not easy in the beginning. But it was amazing to experience them watching me do what I love. I will forever be thankful to them for their support,” said the former NBA Academy prospect.

The star player served up electrifying performances for his club and fans at the Dakar Arena during the group stages. He scored 13 points, had four assists and four rebounds in a 78-54 win over Stade Malien. Against Nigeria’s Kwara Falcons, Boissy scored 22 points and again had four rebounds and four assists.

Jean Jacques Boissy wants to win it all with AS Douanes.

Another shining moment for him was his double-double (15 points and 11 rebounds) and seven assists in a 76-60 win over BAL season champions US Monastir. In that final group game against the Tunisians, only victory sufficed.

“That was a challenging game, a do-or-die battle. In the end, we won, and it was spectacular for us. We also did not expect the fans to fill the arena the way they did that night. It was a beautiful moment and made that victory extra special,” said Boissy.

The Douanes point guard and his teammates take on Mozambican club Ferroviario da Beira in the playoffs on Sunday at the Kigali Arena. Boissy says this is a challenge they have prepared themselves for.

“The energy in the team is good. We know what we have come here to do. We want to win the BAL season three. But we have a game against Beira, and they are good team. So, we have to win that one as a part of trying to reach our goal,” concluded Boissy.

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