Former Quinnipiac hoops stars Ousmane Drame, Zaid Hearst off to strong starts in Europe

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HAMDEN, Conn. – Quinnipiac men’s basketball alumni Ousmane Drame and Zaid Hearst are off to strong starts in Europe in their second professional seasons after graduating from the Bobcats in 2015.

Drame played his rookie season in the Spanish first division with FIATC Jovenut, and signed this offseason with Samsunspor in the Turkish Basketball League. Through six games this season, Drame is averaging 14.3 points and a team-best 12.7 rebounds per contest with his new club, ranking fifth in the league in rebounding.

Drame cemented himself among the greats to ever play at Quinnipiac University, leaving as the program leader in blocked shots and the Division I leader in rebounds. Drame finished with 1,361 career points, 1,108 rebounds and 217 blocks through his four-year stint in Hamden.

As a senior, he averaged a double-double with 14.9 points and 11.2 rebounds, ranking sixth nationally in rebounds per game. He became the fifth player at Quinnipiac to record 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds and earned the 2015 MAAC Defensive Player of the Year Award. Drame shattered Quinnipiac’s record for most blocks in a single season (88), finishing 21 better than the previous record of 67.

Hearst, meanwhile, switched franchises in Spain’s LEB Gold Division, and is now playing for Arraberri after playing his rookie season with Oviedo. Through six contests with his new club, he is leading his team in scoring at 16.8 points per contest, shooting 49 percent from the floor, while also averaging 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists.

Hearst graduated in 2015 with 1,610 career points, ranking him 12th all-time at Quinnipiac and third in the program’s Division I era. He set Quinnipiac’s Division I record for free throws made in a career with 389 (ranking him fourth in program history at any level), and also cracked the top 10 in school history in three-pointers made (141). Hearst was a first-team All-MAAC selection as a senior, when he averaged 18.3 points per game, after also earning third-team all-league honors as a junior.

Drame and Hearst aren’t the only Bobcat alumni to be playing in Europe. James Feldeine ’10 is back with Panathinaikos in Greece after helping his club to an impressive 25-1 record in the regular season a year ago. Feldeine is currently one of the top reserves on Panathinaikos, averaging 7.0 points per game in the early part of the 2016-17 season. In addition, Justin Rutty ’11 is expected to sign with a European club soon after averaging 15 points and seven rebounds for Berck in the French League last year.

Quinnipiac basketball alumni are also spreading their reach beyond their playing days. Sean Light ’10 was recently hired as an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Los Angeles Lakers of the NBA. At the college level, Ike Azotam ’13, who played professionally for three years, is now serving as a graduate manager for the University of Texas under Shaka Smart while Evann Baker ’11 is a graduate manager for Penn State.

The current Quinnipiac men’s basketball team opens up its 2016-17 season with a home contest against Vermont on Saturday, Nov. 12 at 1 p.m. at the TD Bank Sports Center. For ticket information, contact the Quinnipiac box office at 203-582-3905 or visit us on line at QuinnipiacBobcats.com.

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