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12 Karim Jallow (GER)
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Late bloomer Jallow wants to help loaded Germany to podium

MUNICH (FIBA U20 European Championship 2017) - Karim Jallow has been a late bloomer with the German national team, but the versatile shooting guard is hoping he can carry a loaded Germany to great things at the FIBA U20 European Championship 2017.

Jallow has always exhibited excellent athleticism, but it has only been recently that the 6ft 6in (1.98m) Bayern Munich forward has developed into a German national team player, making his international debut last summer at the FIBA U20 European Championship. 

"I was really excited. It was the first time for me and it was a great experience and I learned a lot from it," Jallow said. "I learned that the level and intensity is really high in every game. So you have to be focused all the time. But it's also very important that your focus is just on basketball during the whole competition."

Jallow's father is from the western African country of Gambia, a country with which he retains a strong connection.

"I have a really close connection to his homeland. I have visited Gambia already four times, and half of my family lives there," said Jallow, who was born in Munich. "I am in touch with some of my cousins and my uncle. As soon as I have time I will visit my family in Gambia again. My brother and my father are going to Gambia in a few weeks."Jallow split this season between Bayern Munich's professional team and their ProB third division side. He played seven games with Bayern's elite, averaging 2.7 points and 0.6 steals in just over 4 minutes. In the ProB, the averages increased to 15.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.1 steals in 32 minutes of action.

Jallow started playing basketball when he was 9 years old after previously playing soccer. He said his father kept bringing him to the outdoor basketball court and hoops eventually won out and he has been with Bayern since starting with the U10 team.

Growing up, Jallow was a big Kobe Bryant fan. He has continued to refine and develop his game and changed his rooting interests as well as he now looks up to Giannis Antetokounmpo.

"The way he plays is literally how I like to play. And he also made it from Europe to the NBA."

Jallow returns to the FIBA U20 European Championship once again with a Germany team stacked with talent including Leon Kratzer, Niklas Kiel, Mo Wagner and David Kramer among others.

"We have a really good and strong team. Everybody knows his role and our team chemistry is really good as well. I think we can achieve something big with this team."

Jallow said he expects Germany, who play Czech Republic, hosts Greece and Sweden in Group A, to play very aggressively with a lot of energy, especially on the defensive end.

"With our size and athleticism we're going to dominate the boards. Offensively, everybody can score so we are very balanced in this way," Jallow said. "We really have to focus just on the championship. Everybody must give their best on the court and we have to play as a team all the time. Then we have big chances to win a medal."