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Is Assemian Moulare Cote d'Ivoire's next big thing?
BENGUELA (Angola) - Cote d'Ivoire has become one of the most exciting teams to watch in Africa in recent years, and young Assemian Moulare has played his part in the Ivorians' revival.
In just nine months, Moulare, who turns 19 on 21 January, proved everyone that he belongs in the Elephants' rotation.
The 1.87m (6ft 1in) guard continues to make huge impact each time he wears the orange-green-and-white Cote d'Ivoire uniform.
"I AM JUST HAPPY THAT I HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE OPPORTUNITY OF PLAYING ALONGSIDE THOSE GREAT PLAYERS. THEY HELP ME TO ELEVATE MY GAME. THEY TREAT ME LIKE ONE OF THEM. WE ARE MORE LIKE A UNITED FAMILY WHO SUPPORT EACH OTHER EVERY TIME ONE GOES DOWN."
After averaging just 3.3 points in three games in the second round of the 2021 AfroBasket Qualifiers in February, Moulare seized his opportunity in the first window of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers in November in Angola to strength his mark.
The 2021 AfroBasket runners-up cruised to a 3-0 to open their race for a spot in the FIBA Basketball 2023, and Moulare, the youngest player in the Ivorian roster, took the leading role by averaging team-highs 12 points, including the team's highest performer rating (14.3).
But who is Assemian Moulare?
Born in Paris to a father of Ghanaian and Ivorian descent and a mother who traces her roots in Tunisia and Guadalupe, Moulare first donned the Ivorian uniform at the 2019 FIBA U16 African Championship in Praia, Cape Verde, where he finished with a tournament-high 20.8 points per game.
Assemian Moulare is seen in here during the 2019 FIBA U16 African Championship in Cape Verde
Moulare currently plays for Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans in France's PRO A under the renowned coach Vincent Colllet.
Making so much impact in a national team that includes some of Africa's best talents such as the likes of Vafessa Fofana, Souleyman Diabate, Guy Edi, raises one question: "Is Assemian Moulare Cote d'Ivoire's next big thing?"
"I am just happy that I have been given the opportunity of playing alongside those great players. To play with them is a continuing learning process. They treat me like one of them. In fact, we are more like a united family who support each other every time one goes down. They help to elevate my game," Moulare said in an exclusive interview with FIBA.basketball during the first window of the African Qualifiers in Benguela.
He admits that the transition of playing youth tournaments to compete at senior level in France or with his national team has forced to physical and mental adjustments: "The physicality and learn the coach's style of play are big factors. Each coach has his own mindset and I have to be able to adjust quickly.
"Collet, for example, he 's the best that could have happened to me. As a young player being coached by someone like coach him, it's huge. There is always something new to learn from him. He pays a lot of attention to details to develop young players like me."
Moulare may be young, but his athleticism, ferocity to attack the rim and will to improve his game make him a huge asset for the Ivorians, a team that stands in the pole position to secure one of the tickets to the second round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 African Qualifiers.