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A “Douala Connection” to the Raptors

There will be three Cameroonians next season in the NBA since Joel Embiid and Pascal Siakam will now be accompanied by Christian Koloko, selected in 33rd position in the 2022 Draft. .

“Pascal means everything to Douala. He is the first person from Douala to play in the NBAexplains Koloko (2m16, 103 kg). “He’s an NBA champion. He’s All-Star, and he showed people like me that anything is possible. »

Like Embiid or Siakam, Koloko first played football, and it wasn’t until he was 12 that he started playing basketball. He grew up a lot, and found himself invited to the Basketball Without Borders NBA camp in South Africa. It was there, at 17, that he had already caught the eye of the Raptors.

“I think I realized the NBA was a possible goal when I moved to South Africa in 2017. I had the chance to compete against the best young people in Africa and ended up in the team All Star » he remembers. “I think it was the first time that I realized that if I kept working, I would have the opportunity to reach a good level and the NBA would be a goal that I could achieve. »

“When my agent told me I wouldn’t be in the first round, all I thought was Toronto. I wanted Toronto, just Toronto”

That year, it was the big leap, and he left to join his sister in Los Angeles to play in high school, before finally joining the University of Arizona, where he would wear the jersey for three years. This season, he has monopolized almost all the individual awards of the Pac-12: Most Improved Player, Best Defender of the Year and a place in the best five of the conference.

“It’s true that I thought I would be selected in the first round, but it didn’t happen… And when my agent told me that I wouldn’t be in the first round, I only thought of Toronto. I wanted Toronto, just Toronto. And when he called me and said it was done, it was Toronto, I was so happy. To tell the truth, I think Toronto is the best place for me”.

If he wears number 35 because Kevin Durant is his favorite player, Koloko explains that he looks a lot to Rudy Gobert for the protection of the circle, Draymond Green for his communication in defense, but also superstars like Joël Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic to improve in attack.

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