RMC Sport

A. Traoré: "Russia, a great experience"

Parker spoke with Ali Traoré about his decision to go play in Russia.

Parker spoke with Ali Traoré about his decision to go play in Russia. - -

Ali Traoré was this week’s guest on the Tony Parker Show. The French forward, playing for Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia, gives his impressions about the Russian League and seems to love his new coach.

How is it going in Russia ? Not too difficult ?

It’s a bit complicated. On the court, everything is going fine but Russia is a very large country and the trips from one game to another are very long. The jetlag is bothering me too.

Are you happy with your decision to leave France to go play in Russia ?

Yes I’m glad to be here. The level is really good. We play a lot of games, in the Russian League but also in the VTB or the Eurocup. We play an average of 3 games a week so the rythm can be compared with the one in the NBA.

Compared to what you have experienced previously in your career, what is the main difference for you here in Russia ?

The rythm, really. You play a game and then you only have a couple of days to get ready for the next one. Plus, the level is high in every game. There is no time to rest and you always need to be ready. It can be difficult sometimes.

In the last three games, you are averaging 17 points. What do you think of your season so far ?

It’s a good start for me, especially because I’ve never played here before. There is a lot of competition within the team. For example, I share my position with Primoz Brezec who played nine seasons in the NBA. But I’m playing a lot so that’s really a positive thing. For the moment, I’m really happy.

Bojidar Malkovich is coaching the team. He is a legend. What do you think about him ?

It’s exactly like I thought it would be. He is very exigeant, on a lot of things. Being able to practice with him every day is really helping me to progress. With my rebound game for example. He gave me a really simple advice, I tried it and since then my rebounding stats are way better.

To sum up, what do you think of the level of basketball in Russia ?

I think France can compete with the Russian national team. However, I’m really impressed with the level of the League. The teams have a lot of money and can spend it to attract good players. Each team here has at least one foreign superstar.