By Dionysis Aravantinos / firstname.lastname@example.org
Issuf Sanon is one of the best young NBA prospects playing in Europe for Olimpia Ljubljana. His impressive debut with the Ukrainian national team in 2017 put him in the position he is today, declaring for the NBA Draft.
At the FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship in Slovakia, Sanon averaged 19.3 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.7 assists, but also an impressive 3.4 steals per game, leading his team to the 12th place. Eurohoops asked him about this championship and whether it was the moment he thought about the game more seriously. He stated the following: “For me, no. It was just the time that the others first had the chance to see me.”
After playing two years in Ukraine with Dnipro, the 18-year old combo guard moved to Slovenia in January to play for Olimpia Ljubljana. In the ABA League, he has been averaging 3.0 points, and 1.2 rebounds in just nine minutes of playing time, but in the Slovenian league he put up 11.5 points plus 4.0 rebounds a night. As he told Eurohoops, his experience has been great, and he is enjoying his time there: “Everything has been really great. My teammates have been so good to me, and the coaching staff has been pushing me every day.”
Ljubljana’s guard loves playing defense, as in the FIBA U-18 European Championship he averaged 3.4 steals per contest. “My game starts with defense. I love to play defense and then just attack the basket on offense.”
His game may start with defense, but according to Issuf, he needs to improve a particular aspect of his game offensively: “I just need to get more experience in the pick and roll game. I’m already getting much better, and so I will continue to learn and improve.”
Sanon fell in love with basketball instantly: “From the first time I started playing, I just loved the game. It’s my place to escape, and there is nothing else I would rather do.”
When Eurohoops asked him about his goals for the season, and the future he said the following: “I’m only focused on getting better every day. We want to win the Slovenian League, and I think we can do it. Regarding my career goals, I obviously want to go to the NBA one day. I need to keep working hard for all these three things.”
Sanon has already declared for the NBA Draft and is expected to keep his name past the June 11 withdrawal deadline. As he says, he always wanted to play in the NBA: It’s a dream of mine. I always wanted to play in NBA, and now the chance is in front of me. I will work very hard to make it happen.”
As of his favorite NBA players, Sanon talked about Oklahoma City Thunder‘s superstar: “Russell Westbrook is my favorite player. I love how he attacks every play on both ends of the court.”
Finally, he told Eurohoops where he sees himself in his Mid-20s: “Hopefully in the NBA playing great, and also helping Ukraine to be one of best national teams in the world.”
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