DIJON (FIBA Africa Championship) - Senegal captain Maleye Ndoye has had time to pause, and reflected since his team's hugely disappointing results at the 24th FIBA Africa Championship.
"It was a big disappointment," Ndoye said to FIBA. "As a player, you always expect to do better all the way through."
Senegal were expected by many to be the biggest obstacle for hosts Angola at the FIBA Africa Championship but they failed to even progress from the group stage in Lubango.
Alongside Egypt, Mali and the Ivory Coast in Group B, aka the 'Group of Death', the Lions began well enough with an 85-70 win over Mali.
But a 65-63 upset by the Ivory Coast was followed by a 66-63 setback against the Egyptians.
"At the end of the day, we had a tough pool because we couldn't beat them," Ndoye said.
"Some our players got injured before the tournament. We expected to have (former Nigeria coach) Sam Vincent with us, but he did not come."
Vincent was after the World Championship named as the new coach of Senegal, and then after the NBA season, the Charlotte Bobcats appointed him as their new coach.
He did not travel with the team to Angola, though, and the Senegalese federation released a statement on www.fiba-africa.com on September 5 announced that it had severed ties with the coach.
"With them, everything could have been different," he said. "It was strange situation for the players."
Other than Vincent, the most notable absentees among the players were Boniface Ndong and Sitapha Savane.
N'Dong, the MVP of the Africa Championship two years ago, skipped the FIBA World Championship last year and Senegal went winless, and he decided not to play this year as well.
Savane, a key member of last year's team, was injured and could not play.
Even without that duo, there was talent.
Senegal had Jules Aw, Mamadou Diouf and their leading scorer in Japan last year, Ndoye - a small forward who played college basketball in America at Furman University.
In Japan, Ndoye poured in an average of 14 points per game while also pulling down 3.8 rebounds.
This summer, Ndoye had about 15 points and four rebounds per contest, but it wasn't enough.
Instead, Cameroon reached the final and played well before falling 70-61 to the Angolans, who captured a ninth African title.
"They are young, play tough and together," the 6ft 8in Ndoye said of Cameroon.
"Against Angola, they were so close and they had a chance. They have a good team.
"Angola have also done well. They had the crowd supporting them all the way through the tournament."
Senegal's showing left basketball fans back home feeling blue.
"[Fans] They could not understand what happened," Ndoye said.
"Everybody had been asking themselves what went wrong, who to blame - whether the players or the [Senegalese Basketball] Federation," he said.
Instead of competing for an Olympic place next year, Ndoye and Senegal will have to support their African brothers.
Underdogs Cape Verde surprised many by knocking out African giants Morocco, Nigeria and Egypt to get the bronze medal and take a place at the pre-Olympic tournament alongside Cameroon.
"They can spring a surprise if they have confidence," Ndoye said.
"It is not going to be easy for them because they will play against top teams.
"They have to be well prepared, and hopefully they can make it."
All Ndoye can do now is has turned his attention to JDA Dijon, the club he has spent the past two seasons with in France.
"We expect to do better than last season," he said. "It is going to be different as we have a new coach and some new players.
"We have to work together and reach the play-offs."