IN FOCUS: Yasmine Bidikuindila
LSU Sports Interactive
All Yasmine Bidikuindila needs is a pineapple and a dish to cook in it.
Hollow out the fruit, put the ingredients inside, and watch Bidikuindila make magic.
“I can make anything inside,” Bidikuindila said. “I’ve made shrimp fried rice or white rice and teriyaki chicken. I like the fancy stuff. My teammate and roommate Ayana (Mitchell) cooks too. Her food is more like Southern dishes and she was like, ‘Yazzie be making the fancy stuff.’”
Cooking her famous pineapple bowl is just one of the many talents Bidikuindila, an international student-athlete from Montreal, Canada, brings to the table for the LSU women’s basketball team.
Bidikuindila always knew that she wanted to play basketball in the United States. She worked earnestly throughout her high school career to perfect her craft. Her dream became a reality in 2016 when she joined the Lady Tigers.
During her first season on the team, Bidikuindila suffered an injury. She tore almost every ligament in her knee. Her doctor told her that she may not be able to play again.
“I had feelings of, ‘What’s going to happen? Will people still want me? Am I still going to be able to play?’ And I was like, ‘You just have to push yourself. You might not be able to play or you may not play the same,’ but I know if I get back out there, I will be able to play. Being injured, you learn so much about yourself and how strong you can be,” she said. “I went through a lot of rehab, but I’m here, and I’m still hooping.”
Bidikuindila’s injury experience motivated her to persevere, and her work ethic transcends the basketball court. She has embraced her role as an LSU women’s basketball player and enjoys being in Louisiana.
“I love playing basketball in the SEC. It is one of the best conferences in the country. I really like the competition. A lot of the big-time players get into the league. Playing basketball at LSU has allowed me to travel, come down to the South and meet some new people,” said Bidikuindila.
Bidikuindila has had a smooth transition to life in Louisiana, and she loves it.
“I’m really big on culture. I love to cook, so the food is something I like. I had never had crawfish before. I learned how to eat a crawfish and I’ve learned how to make gumbo. I had to adjust to the weather because it is cold in Canada. I had never seen a Christmas with no snow. On a social part, people are warmer down here,” Bidikuindila said.
Southern culture has impacted Bidikuindila. The kindness shown to her here has made Louisiana a home away from home for her. She often finds herself greeting strangers in the store now.
“In Canada, when you go to the supermarket, you just grocery shop; you mind your own business. Here, people are really welcoming. They talk to you in the store,” she said. “Like when I first got here, people would say ‘Hey,’ and I’d be like, ‘Do I know you?’ But now, I walk in the store and I’m like, ‘Hey,’ and ‘have a blessed day.’”
Although Bidikuindila is a dynamic player on the court, basketball is not her only skill. She believes that any goal she sets for herself is attainable. If she desires to do something, she puts forth effort into mastering that skill.
“I can do anything you can possibly think of. I cook. I play the piano. I compose music. I write music. I love to sing. Give me an instrumental and I will rap to it and sing on it. I love to draw as well. I took an art class my last year in high school and just found out that I can draw. I want to learn how to paint, though. I don’t know how to paint, but you’d be surprised. I surprise myself. It’s like I don’t know how to do this, and then I start doing it. I used to write poetry too, but I stopped,” said Bidikuindila.
Bidikuindila’s journey to LSU has included some trials, but those trials have assisted her with maturing and have afforded her with the opportunity “to play at a high level at a good school, like LSU.”
Bidikuindila is living out her dream. She is not only enjoying her time at LSU, but she is also taking advantage of every opportunity given to her.
And making the fancy stuff, too.