Louisville’s Dieng will play in front of his parents
by Eric Prisbell and Nicole Auerbach, USA TODAY Sports
Louisville center Gorgui Dieng is expected to start for the first time since Nov. 23 on Saturday when the Cardinals play host to in-state rival Kentucky. And he’ll be doing it with some special guests in the arena: his parents.
Louisville spokesman Kenny Klein confirmed Thursday that Dieng’s parents Momar Dieng and Seynabou Diagne are expected to see their son play for the first time on U.S. soil this weekend.
Proctorville, Ohio, residents Lesley and Scott Thomas, who were the host family for Gorgui Dieng while he played high school basketball at Huntington Prep, have been working since July on the logistics of bringing Dieng’s parents here to see him play for the first time.
Lesley Thomas said she and her husband paid for the air travel for Dieng’s parents, Momar Dieng and Seynabou Diagne, who arrived in the United States on Christmas Eve. They will be staying in Louisville for about two weeks. Both parents received visitor’s visas to visit Dieng.
Lesley Thomas said Dieng sent her a text message that said, “I have never been this excited in my whole life.”
“We all cried,” Lesley Thomas said. “It made our Christmas. We were blessed to be able to do it. My little ones (Luke, Clayton) cannot wait to meet his parents. Gorgui is part of us.
Lesley and Scott Thomas, along with sons Luke and Clayton, will be making the trip to Louisville this weekend to meet Dieng’s parents.
“I know I am going to be crying a lot, when I see [Dieng] come out and see his mom and papa there,” Lesley Thomas said. “It will be tears of joy. Gorgui is not an investment. To us, he is our family. And we will be forever attached. God sends people in our lives. And we are in theirs. We always say, everything happens for a reason.”
The parents came here with close family friend Assane Badji, who helped Lesley Thomas with the steps to take to bring the parents here. Lesley Thomas also worked with Louisville, which she said wrote letters to the Senegal to confirm that Dieng was a student in good standing at … [For more on Louisville's Dieng will play in front of his parents, click here.]