The next big No. 18?
The comparison possibilities were already going to be there. Ismael Bamba is a diminutive speedster with flashy moves. Then Bamba went and picked out green jersey No. 18 for the UND football team. Now the comparisons will really fly. Did the Fren...
The comparison possibilities were already going to be there. Ismael Bamba is a diminutive speedster with flashy moves.
Then Bamba went and picked out green jersey No. 18 for the UND football team.
Now the comparisons will really fly.
Did the French-speaking Montreal native even know he would be donning the uniform of former Sioux All-American receiver Weston Dressler?
"Yeah, Weston Dressler," said Bamba, who spoke in his second language of English. "His brother (Ryan Dressler) told me about it. They said (Weston) was fast. I have a big jersey to fill."
Bamba said he originally wanted uniform No. 81, but assistant coach Paul Charbonneau -- the French-speaking recruiter responsible for signing Bamba -- convinced him to go with Dressler's old duds.
"Coach Charbonneau told me to take 18 because it's a big player's number," said Bamba, who is 6 feet and 186 pounds. "I'm fast like (Dressler), and we play the same position."
With just one week on campus, Sioux coaches aren't about to put added pressure on the rookie. But anyone who's seen Bamba's high school highlight film on YouTube can attest to his Dressler-like game-breaking plays.
"He's a dynamic player," UND wide receivers coach Tim Belmore said. "I'm anxious to see what he can do. I'm anxious to see how he can fit into this football team."
The YouTube clip claims Bamba can run the 40-yard dash in 4.37 seconds. Keep in mind that Dressler was officially clocked in 4.44 at UND. Ryan Chappell, who will sit out this season with the Sioux for academic reasons, ran a 4.42.
He hasn't been clocked at 4.37 seconds at UND, but Bamba's speed and big-play capability have coaches discussing playing him as a true freshman. That's something that hasn't been done by a wide receiver since, well, Weston Dressler.
"That's something we still have to talk about and find out what's best for everyone," Belmore said.
For now, Bamba is excited to be on campus and ready to prepare for his first season of college football.
"The playbook is thick," Bamba said. "That will take a while to learn. And the play here is fast. It's not like Quebec. It'll be a big step."
Sioux coaches are just glad to have Bamba on campus. After some trouble crossing the Canada-United States border, Bamba had to spend a night at a hotel in Emerson, Man., as the coaches ironed out paperwork problems.
"My father and mother were kind of worried," Bamba said. "But it was just some paperwork. I got here, and I had a good first day. I like the city."
UND coaches envision Bamba as a receiver who can stretch the field, as well as someone who can be effective in short-yardage situations.
"He's one of those kids where he's going to want to do whatever we ask of him," Belmore said. "We'll find a role for him, and he'll jump at it."
Miller reports on sports. Reach him at (701) 780-1121; (800) 477-6572, ext. 121; or send e-mail to email@example.com .