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Bangaly Fofana debuts in the Euroleague

October 30th, 2009 · No Comments

The young French Center of ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne signed his debut in the Euroleague this week in the tough overtime home loss against Fenerbahce Ülker. The 1989 born and 2m12 tall player used the minutes he got because of the injury of Curtis Borchardt and it may remain his only major minutes of the Euroleague as ASVEL just signed a replacement for the former ACB player. However, I took a close look at what Fofana did during his 11 minutes on the court.

The first impression you get from Fofana is of course the very long body that he has. In fact, Bangaly Fofana is listed with 2m12 and has nice long arms. His body is still a bit underdeveloped physically which put him in difficulties against the bigger Fenerbahce players. But after a first half where Fofana had some trouble to adjust, he showed during the 2nd half that he can have some impact in the next games for his French team.

Fofana entered the court in the first half when ASVEL was playing man-to-man defense and he had to take care of Emir Preldzic. He did a nice job to defend against the tall wing as his correct lateral speed and long arms prevented the Slovenian player to attack him on the drive. While he was nicely present on the defensive end where he changed the shooting selection of his opponents, his offensive presence was not that good. He started with a bad passing decision as he saw the cutter but he could not adjust his pass well enough as it was intercepted. He missed a two handed dunk out of a Pick and Roll situation where he may have been touched slightly on his left arm.

In a second offensive tentative, he saw his attempt badly reject by Omer Asik, a move that made it to the Euroleague Top 10 this week. Fofana got subbed by Vincent Collet later on but the French coach was not afraid to bring him back in the last minutes of the 2nd quarter. The Center had a final opportunity to score his first bucket of the season but his right handed jump hook from the top was a bit short and looked somehow soft and not that powerful. In general, you could see a player that is still very raw in his offensive attempts, but can run the court extremely well for a player of his size.

During the second half, Fofana showed a much more intense presence on the court than during the first 20 minutes. He started with a nice effort on the offensive glass where he worked very hard and used his good speed and nice timing. He showed good pivot moves to pass out the ball to the open shooters. On another shot attempt of one of his team mates, Fofana could capture the offensive rebound high above his defender and put the ball back with a nice two handed dunk and the foul. After missing the Bonus free-throw, he put nice pressure on the Fenerbahce rebounder and was close to gain the ball back. His second hoop of the game came from a two handed tip dunk where he recognized the moment very well to leave his defender to score the basket.

Defensively, he showed a very nice block shot on a dunk attempt by Semih Erden. The good thing of this block was that Fofana appeared from the side with a big step to explode up straight for the perfect block shot.

Now, Bangaly Fofana needs to continue with his performances in order to gain the necessary playing time to develop. You could really see how Fofana improved throughout the game and learned how to play on this level. If his learning curve on a long term is in relation with the one he showed during this game, he may have a very bright future. Pierre Grall, the executive director of ASVEL, says about Fofana that he is doing his best every on practice on the highest level and that he needs now to make the next step and confirm his qualities as defensive rebounder in the game.

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