By Dionysis Aravantinos / [email protected]
After having a great year with Turk Telekom in the Basketball Champions League last season, and being named in the All-BCL Second Team (2020), Moustapha Fall signed a one-year deal with ASVEL in the summer. The 29-year old 7-footer decided to make a jump in his career, playing in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague competition for the first time. And so far, he’s shown why he’s one of the best two-way centers in Europe.
Fall is currently averaging 9.3 points on 68.5% from the field, 5.5 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 0.8 blocks per game, leading ASVEL to a 12-17 record. The French international talked to Eurohoops about his first time playing in the EuroLeague, his upcoming free agency, the NBA, as well as the toughest opponents he’s faced this year.
You signed a one-year deal with ASVEL last summer. How has that whole year been so far for you?
Moustapha Fall: It’s been up and down. I started the season pretty good, I was in rhythm, but after that I fractured my rib. I was out for about a month, and I struggled a bit when I came back. I needed time to recover. But after that, I started getting my rhythm back again. Overall, it’s been pretty good so far.
This season was the first time you played in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague competition. How satisfied are you with your performances?
MF: I was happy. At the beginning of the season we were losing a lot of games, so that wasn’t so great. Individually though, I was feeling pretty good. I was feeling like my place is in the EuroLeague. It was a pretty good feeling.
How would you assess the team’s overall performance this year both in the EuroLeague and the French league?
MF: In the EuroLeague, we did some pretty good things. In the French League it was a bit weird, because sometimes we played, sometimes we stopped. It was complicated. Nobody knows what’s going to happen. It was a lot of ups and downs. But I think we’re going to be okay in the French League. I have no worries about that.
What are some goals you’ve set for the rest of the year?
MF: To win the French Cup and the French League. We want to win both. And finish out strong in the EuroLeague. Win as many games as possible.
What’s it like playing under a basketball legend in Tony Parker? Have you had any contact with him?
MF: He was a player himself, so he understands the players. He understands our needs. We can always go and talk to him, he listens to us and what we have to say. It’s pretty great to have a president like that.
Has he given you any advice that has stood out to you?
MF: Before I signed, he told me I need to be in the EuroLeague, and show what I can do. He told me he’ll give me the opportunity to do that in ASVEL, and this is why I signed here.
You’re currently in your prime years. In the summer, you’ll be a free agent once again. What’s going to be your No. 1 priority?
MF: To find a good situation. I think the situation is the most important. If you have a good situation, you’ll perform better. We just have to find a team who needs me, wants me and we’ll see what’s going to happen afterwards. I don’t know if I’m going to leave or if I’m going to stay, I don’t know nothing about that. I just want to finish this season as good as possible, and see the opportunities I have in the summer.
What about the NBA? You went undrafted in the 2014 NBA draft. Is it still on your bucket-list?
MF: Not really. I haven’t thought about it for the moment. I’m just focused on EuroLeague. The last 3-4 years, I didn’t even think about it.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
MF: In five years… I’ll be like 34. I have no idea. I don’t know if I’m going to still be playing basketball at 34. Honestly, I would love to be in a situation to compete for a EuroLeague title. If when I finish my career I look back and say ‘I won the EuroLeague,’ I’d be satisfied with that.
Have you thought about life after basketball?
MF: At the moment, I’m just investing. Afterwards, I’ll see what other options I’ll have. Maybe stay in the sport. I’d like to stay in touch with the sport. This is what I do.
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