UF sophomore Sekou Bangoura has been playing tennis since before most children know what tennis is. The Bradenton, Fla., native has 16 years of experience, which seems like no feat — until you consider that he’s 19 years old.
Despite that love, his love off the court, he said, is music.
“I probably listen to music between eight and 10 hours every day. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I never take my headphones off,” Bangoura said.
Music is a source of focus and inspiration for the nationally ranked athlete, through the positive messages of songs and the pumps-you-up elements of good beats. Playing in the cutthroat SEC, he said, you need all the focus and inspiration you can get.
“Georgia and Tennessee are going to be tough,” Bangoura said. “Tennessee beat us in the SEC finals last year, and Georgia knocked us out of the NCAA. This year, we want revenge.”
Bangoura kicked off his sophomore season winning the singles draw at the Lakewood Ranch Clay Court Classic in Bradenton, just a few days shy of his 19th birthday. SEC play starts for the Gators on March 4 at 3 p.m. against LSU at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex.
Although Bangoura’s top tracks are never the same for long, here’s what was pumping him up last time we checked:
“Let’s Go” by Trick Daddy feat. Twista and Lil Jon
“This is a great one to get you totally hyped up before a match.”
“The Show Goes On” by Lupe Fiasco
“Oh man, I had this song on repeat for, like, three or four weeks. I think my teammates are pretty sick of it, but I love it.”
“All of the Lights” by Kanye West
“This is a great pump-up song from a great album. I love that beat.”
“Get Up, Stand Up” by Bob Marley and The Wailers
“This song is kind of low-key, but so inspirational.”
“Letting Go (Dutty Love)” by Sean Kingston feat. Nicki Minaj
“Forget about the lyrics. This one is all about the beat.”
“Strong Will Continue” by Distant Relatives
“This song is so inspirational. It’s all about continuing through adversity, which is something I need to do out on the court.”
“More” by Usher
“I gotta be honest. I wish I could dance like Usher!”
“Don’t Let Me Fall” by B.o.B.
“What I take from this song is ... I dunno (laughs). I guess I just really like the song.”
“High Road” by Fort Minor feat. John Legend
“This song is the best of both worlds. It has an awesome beat to get me pumped, plus really inspirational lyrics.”