Christian Koloko, the young Cameroonian who wants to make one

After three seasons at the famous University of Arizona, Cameroon pivot Christian Junior Koloko is the African hopeful to be selected at the top during the 2022 (Draft) recruitment session of the North American Basketball League (NBA), which will take place on the night of June 22-23 in Brooklyn. Players with an unusual career, the native of Douala wants to follow in the footsteps of his countrymen already All StarsNBA, Pascal Siakam and Joël Embiid.

After a fantastic season 2021-2022 where the Golden State Warriors were crowned by Stephen Curry and The Congolese debutant Jonathan Kumingathe NBA concludes this exercise with the traditional Draft Masstonight, in Brooklyn.

Of the 250 candidates and suitors, very few will be selected. Only 58 players will be named by NBA President Adam Silver and enter through the front door of the best league in basketball of the world.

Rapid growth drives him towards basketball from Arizona, which comes after a sublime season with the best university team 2021-2022 (34 wins, only 3 losses). “We are only a few hours away from the big night, and I feel a little pressure, because I can not wait to find out where I will play next season,” Koloko smiles. “But I worked hard to get there, and I’m moving. my dream with my fingertips.

Koloko was born in Douala and started playing football before quickly switching to basketball at the age of 12, due to a strong growth spurt (he went from 1m65 to 1m89 in 18 months!). After a few training sessions, he feels that the passion for the orange ball is growing, but still does not think about a future as a top athlete, he who has always been a brilliant student. “I was very focused on school and I wanted to be a very good student before I thought about sports,” he says. I think I want to be competitive and become the best student I can be has made it possible for me to use the same mindset in basketball today as well. “

Demanded by the prestigious universities of Stanford, Princeton and Harvard, the young indomitable lion is making visible progress in the fields, and in 2017 he will be offered to go to the United States and thus do sports studies at a high school in California, at Sierra Canyon School. The young Koloko does not speak a word of English, but who cares: he wants to take advantage of this opportunity and works hard on and off the pitch. The work pays off and after a year and a half he receives offers from major universities such as Arizona, California and Vanderbilt, but also from the most prestigious in the country such as Stanford, Princeton and Harvard who are seduced by his brilliant academic career.

“I chose Arizona because the basketball tradition at this university and the quality of the lessons offered to me there quickly seduced me. Guys like Steve Kerr, Mike Bibby and Gilbert Arenas [trois anciens joueurs NBA, Ndlr] passed here, so the choice was the best for me, ”he recalls.

During its first two seasons, the Cameroonian interior really had the opportunity to shine, the one used irregularly. But with the arrival of Tommy Lloyd in the summer of 2021, one of the best technologies in the country, the situation for number 35 changes radically.

The “Albatross” takes off The nickname Albatross, due to its size (2m18) and its giant wingspan (2m32!), Takes advantage of the appointment of the new staff to settle in the team’s five majors and does not take long to explode in the University Championship (NCAA). He went from having an average of 6 points and 3 rebounds to … 18 points and 10 catches per game, and took his team to the quarterfinals of March Madness, the annual NCAA tournament and one of the best platforms to kick in the eye. on the NBA team.

He is selected in the season’s five best majors for the team in the western half of the country. That’s when he decided to take it to the next level and signed up for the Draft. “After three years in college, I think I figured it out, and my dream of going to the NBA is there, right in front of me, and thus going with my countrymen Pascal Siakam, who is also from Douala, and Joël Embiid, for to give the Cameroonians another reason to be proud, because another child in the country is coming to the world’s best league “, confirms the one who also managed to take his master’s degree with … two years in advance.

Precious advice from Joël Embiid The comparison with Embiid is frequent, and Koloko feels privileged to receive advice from the Philadelphia Sixers, a big brother who has lived almost the same journey as him: “He tells me to give everything, to show what I can and that everything will be fine. He’s super supportive, I’m really grateful for that. What a player! What decor would not want advice from Joel [rires]? He’s the best pivot in the league! “

Tonight, Koloko, whose ratings continue to climb on the predictions of Draft experts, will know what his next step will be and enter the NBA through the front door, without forgetting the road: “When I look in the mirror, tell myself that I I’ve made many sacrifices, but that it’s really worth it. But I do not take anything for granted, I am proud to be an African and Cameroonian representative at the highest level and I want to make my countrymen proud. I have Cameroon in my heart, in my soul. I am happy to take another step in the journey of my life, and I’m excited about what’s going to happen next.

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