“Basketball has saved my life”

Girona Basketball Pivot. He left Senegal, his home country, at the age of 14 and had hardly ever played basketball to try his luck at Unicaja. In Malaga the adventure did not go well, but in Gran Canaria, his next destination, he became one of the pivots with more projection. Now, at the age of 20, he has arrived in Fontajau to continue to progress and make his dream come true: “I want to be like Marc Gasol.”

“What, how is the coronavirus?” The Senegalese pivot asked the journalist before starting the interview. Faye is a restless, affable guy, and he immediately wants to explain himself. Six years after leaving Senegal he has made a name for himself in professional basketball and is looking forward to continuing to grow to reach the ACB and even the NBA. In Malaga, its discoverers, he had no fortune, but in his next destination, Gran Canaria, he grew a lot. Then he played on loan to LEB Plata in Ávila and last year he made his debut in LEB Oro with Guipúzcoa. At the moment he has signed against Lleida and Alicante his two most complete matches with Bàsquet Girona.

Feeling that you are going through the best time of the season?
Yes, but I always feel at my best. The team has helped me a lot to improve. My job is this, to always be prepared and offer my best version. I’m probably more comfortable now and more confident, thanks to the support of the team and Carles (Marco).

What aspects of your game need to improve, yet?
What I have to do is train every day and improve, so in general, but it is also true that for example free throws are essential and I have to perfect them. I am the first to realize all that I need to improve. Each player has their specific plans, and for example I, at the end of training, have to convert 20 free throws to be able to go to the shower. Every time I get it before.

Last year coincided with Rozitis in San Sebastian. Why not just boot?
Davis is a great player. Last season he did very well. But things don’t always turn out like a flight. I talk a lot with him, he is my partner and we play in the same position. He, like the whole team, is a little worried, especially when we lose, because we all want to win. I get along very well with him and I think we will see his best version.

Do you like Marc Gasol as a pivot? What can you learn from him?
I love Marc. I like it very much. He is a very polite person and values ​​his attitude. He’s a smart player, and that’s what makes the difference. In the future, I want to be like Marc Gasol. I also love him because he is very humble despite everything he has achieved. (Laughs) And I’m not saying that to get along with the president, eh? I say that because he has trained with us, by my side, and I have focused on everything he did.

During his formative stage he was several times MVP in championships of Spain. Seeing yourself as a promise for the future has put too much pressure on you?
No. To me being told this what it did to me was to make me want to work and evolve more. It pushed me to be even better. I, like everyone else, like them to speak well, and whenever I’ve been in this situation I’ve used it to spur me on and try to keep going.

How did you get to Spain? Was it hard to leave your family in Senegal at 14?
I came to Malaga at that age. But they didn’t want me there and I went to Gran Canaria, thanks to the performance of my agent, where I started to stand out and have good seasons at the base. I didn’t like basketball when I was little. In my family we are quite tall and my mother’s partner always said to me: “Biram, you will have a future in basketball, why don’t you try it?”. My mother also told me to learn to play, but I told them no, that I didn’t like it, that what I wanted was to be a football goalkeeper. In the end I tried it. And eight or nine months after I started playing basketball I came to Spain.

He started playing at the age of 13 and immediately made the leap to Europe?
Yes. Unicaja discovered me in Senegal, although I never played there with any team, I have never competed there. An observer saw me on a training campus and I went to Malaga.

What has basketball given you?
Basketball is my life. He has given me everything. I have learned respect, camaraderie, and it has also allowed me to make money. Basketball has saved my life, the truth is this. I had never been to school and, thanks to coming to Europe, when I was in Gran Canaria, I was able to start studying a bit and did a cooking cycle. I really like to cook. If I hadn’t been a basketball player, I don’t know what would have been. Now my family is proud of me. My mom gives me a lot of support, and she’s the first to cheer me on if a match didn’t go well. He is in Senegal, he has never come to see me in Spain. I go there every summer, but she hasn’t been here yet. Someday I will invite her.

In 2019 it was considered to enroll in the draft. Is getting to the NBA one of your goals?
Yes, it is. And I think I can get there. That’s why I have to keep working hard, I’m fully aware of it, and heed the advice of my coaches. I would also like to play in the ACB, hopefully with Girona. Anyway, getting to things is the easiest, the hard part is then continuing to offer the best level to stay there.

When did you realize you could make a living from basketball?
When I went with the Senegal under-19 team. I scored the basket that made us win the game in the end, and I scored 31 points. I was proud of what I had done and thought maybe they were right and that this basketball thing was done for me.

What has been your best match?
I remember one in the Under-19 World Cup with Senegal, I scored 34 points and 19 rebounds. (Laughs) It would be nice if I could do the same on Sunday against Granada!

Malaga, Las Palmas, Avila, San Sebastian and Girona are very different cities. Did you find it all right?
I felt good everywhere. I was very well in Las Palmas, just like in Ávila, although it was very cold there. I really liked San Sebastián, it’s a big city, with the sea, but it rained a lot and, as I didn’t play much, I wasn’t happy. Here in Girona, I’m fine. I know the city was 20 years in the ACB and it’s a good place to keep growing. I share a flat with Ryan (Logan) and, although I like being at home, I have also got to know the city.



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