DES MOINES, IOWA - Armel Traore dit Nignan, a 6-foot 8-inch, 240-pound standout center from Tompkins Cortland (N.Y.) Community College, has signed a national letter of intent at Drake, indicating he will join the Bulldog men's basketball program.
Traore dit Nignan, (PRONOUNCED: TREY-or-A) a native of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in Africa, earned All-Mid State Athletics Conference honors and was selected to the National Junior College Athletic Association Region 3 All-Star team as well as the New York All-State Academic team.
Traore dit Nignan was a two-year starter at Tompkins Cortland where he became the school's career rebounding (515) and blocked shots (94) leader.
He set a school record with 22 rebounds in a game against Onondaga Community College last season and also recorded single game highs of 27 points and six blocked shots.
"Armel possesses good quickness and athleticism and will provide us with an inside presence,” said Drake basketball coach Dr. Tom Davis. “He adds size to our front line and is a very good rebounder and post defender."
He led Tompkins Cortland in scoring with a 14.6 average as well as in rebounding (9.4 avg.) and blocked shots (54-1.9 avg.) this past season. As a freshman in 2003-04, Traore dit Nignan averaged 10.9 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.5 blocked shots, 1.4 assists and 1.3 steals.
"Armel is an outstanding student-athlete who possesses a very good work ethic both in the classroom and on the court,” said Drake assistant coach Chris Davis. “He will be a good fit for our program."
Traore dit Nignan plans to major in international business and marketing at Drake. He has received the State University of New York's Chancellor's award and the Presidential Citation which is the highest academic award at Tompkins Cortland Community College.
“Armel is one of the most physically dominant and intellectually gifted student-athletes I have worked with,” said John Pijanowski, who was the head basketball coach at Tompkins Cortland Community College. “The opportunity to serve those talents at Drake, which offers both top tier academics and a world class coaching staff is a blessing. I have no doubt Armel will thrive at Drake and make great strides as a person, student, and basketball player under Coach Tom Davis' guidance.”
Traore dit Nignan's father, Bernard, is a technician at the Burkina Faso National Center for Research and Science and Technology and his mother, Koumba, is a civil administrator for the Burkina Faso Minister of Defense.
Traore dit Nignan becomes the fifth recruit to join the Drake men's basketball program. Earlier this spring, A.J. Calvin, a 6-7 forward from Butler (Kan.) Community College, and Bill Eaddy, a 6-7 forward from Massanutten (Va.) Military Academy signed national letters of intent at Drake.
Last fall Drake landed guards Al Stewart, a transfer from Des Moines Area Community College in Boone, Iowa; and Jacob Baryenbruch from River Valley (Wis.) High School.