By Cesare Milanti / email@example.com
MILAN, Italy – Among experienced additions like Nikola Mirotic, Maodo Lo, and Alex Poythress, Milan moved into the market by acquiring young and promising talents who are emerging into the European landscape. In the summer, in fact, the 22-year-old Ismael Kamagate joined the Italian side.
Emerging as one of the most impressive gems in the 2022-23 EuroCup, shining with Paris Basketball by averaging 9.2 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while leading the European league in blocks (1.5 per game), the French altitude defensive specialist is learning with a veteran locker room.
During the Italian team’s EuroLeague Media Day, the French national team’s member talked with Eurohoops about his next step, learning from a living-legend colleague like Kyle Hines, and his experience with the Denver Nuggets in the Summer League 2023.
Adjusting to the EuroLeague system from Paris
Being inserted in a stacked frontline that can rely on the already mentioned Kyle Hines, Alex Poythress, Nicolò Melli, and Johannes Voigtmann among others, the young talent is living the process. “I’m feeling great, I feel like I don’t have to think too loose and keep learning because I play with great experienced people. They help me to be at the level, it’s a blessing to be here”, he said before the start of the season.
Talking more about the newly all-time leader in EuroLeague games played, Ismael Kamagate spoke highly about Kyle Hines, mentioning which aspect of the game he would like to learn mostly from the former CSKA Moscow and Olympiacos veteran. “I’d say placement on defense because we know he’s one of the best defensive players in Europe”, the French player commented.
To be more specific, he touched on certain topics where to improve and become more valuable. “The first thing I can learn from him is to be at the good spot in the defense, not to make fouls, and to be at the good timing on the block. Being a warrior in offense, being focused on the system because the coach needs precision on the spot. I keep learning and I’m doing it fast”, the 22-year-old added.
Being part of the first year spent by Paris Basketball in the EuroCup, ending their path in the Quarter-Finals by losing against Gran Canaria, last season’s competition leader in blocks per game experienced the beginning of a new era for the French club, playing there from 2019 to 2023.
The team coached by Tuomas Iisalo and led by TJ Shorts is currently unbeaten at 7-0 in the BKT EuroCup, aiming to land in the EuroLeague in the near future. “Paris Basketball is a great club, with huge ambition. I know they will be in the EuroLeague, they put everything to be at a high level in European basketball. We have deep talent in French basketball, and I know in the future we will be great”, Ismael Kamagate commented on his former team.
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Ismael Kamagate’s NBA Dream is getting closer and closer
Before moving to Ettore Messina’s team – where he has just played a total of 5:46 minutes on the EuroLeague courts against Olympiacos and Real Madrid, while putting up 7.5 points and 3.2 rebounds in the LBA -, the French center had an important and formative parenthesis in the United States.
Being selected with the 46th overall pick by the Detroit Pistons back in the 2022 NBA Draft, Ismael Kamagate’s rights were then moved first to the Portland Trail Blazers and secondly to the Denver Nuggets, with whom he played the last two NBA Summer Leagues.
Talking about his last American experience in Las Vegas, the 22-year-old center spoke with already veteran words about his future landing in the NBA. “It’s a dream. By playing the Summer League I understood I don’t have to move there if I’m not ready. Everybody wants this spot and it’s a tough league”, he modestly admitted before
“We just have to not rush the process, because that’s how to can lose yourself. Take your time, do what you can do. In the team, everybody can do everything. You have to master what you do better, and that’s what I learned this summer”, the French player added about his Summer League experience, where he put up 6.8 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks in 18.2 minutes per game over four appearances.
Within that experience, he shared the court with a familiar face. “Aamir Simms is my guy, I can’t wait to play against him. He will be tough to face”, he commented on the current Reyer Venice and former Paris Basketball player before talking about another upcoming talent in Europe. “Mark Smith is really good too, he’s really good. Can’t really say about their upside, because I’m still improving and I still don’t really know my potential either. I just stay focused on my process”, Ismael Kamagate ended.
PHOTO CREDIT: Olimpia Milano