She says he's the “sunshine of her life.” She has a tattoo on her left arm with his name and a sun.
“He's perfect,” she said with a thick French accent.
The son smiled.
For the last year, her son has been touted as the perfect piece to the Sooners' puzzle.
After playing at Stoneridge Prep in Simi Valley, Calif., M'Baye started his collegiate career from Wyoming, where he weighed only 180 pounds despite being 6-foot-8. He played there as a freshman and sophomore before transferring to Oklahoma, where he sat out last season because of NCAA transfer rules.
In his Oklahoma debut Sunday, M'Baye had a game-high nine rebounds, two blocks and 12 points in 22 minutes against Louisiana-Monroe. He also had three dunks.
While he might now be the piece the Sooners have been needing, M'Baye didn't exactly fit in during his childhood, especially after he and his mother moved back to France when M'Baye was a teenager.
“First, I was the weirdly dressed French kid in Africa,” M'Baye said. “Then I was the funny-dressed African kid back in France. Then I came to America and it was back to being the funny-dressed French kid again.”
In Oklahoma, M'Baye's personality has stood out. He loves to joke. He's always polite. And he doesn't mind calling himself the “best looking” of the team, which always sparks some interesting conversation with his teammates.
Although he's here in America, ready to finally have the chance to help Oklahoma in a true road test, he's still that kid who encourages his teammates and puts his arm around them in the huddle when he can tell they need to be lifted up.
That's just who Amath M'Baye is — it's his life, he said, that's shaped him. Ba said he's still her “same baby,” the sunshine of her life. And now, he's finally getting to rise as the light to an Oklahoma team whose postseason light has been dimmed recently.