In Serbia for three seasons, Malcolm Cazalon (21) knows he is playing big this season, which is his last chance to register for the draft. A motivation rather than a pressure for the one who was called up for the first time in the French national team and who is having his best season. Interview conducted for France Basket and Le Quotidien du Sport.
How did it feel to be called up to the French national team for the November window if only as a training partner?
It’s an honor. Every basketball player dreams of wearing the jersey of his national team.
Is it a nice surprise to see Vincent Collet watching you while you play in Serbia?
Of course ! I talked a lot with Ruddy (Nelhomme, one of Vincent Collet’s assistants, editor’s note) who said he could call me. When he announced that I was being called, I was happy.
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How do you rate your evolution in this Mega MIS team?
I am progressing well. There was a change of coach. The new one (Marko Barac, editor’s note) is more suitable for my game, which makes my job easier.
Exactly what is your playstyle?
I run a lot, everything is transition play, play without the ball, shooting. I’m athletic, on defense it helps me, I have long arms.
How did you approach this important season, your last chance to be drafted?
It’s a different season. Before, with my agents, we always told each other that there was still a year left. There we are, but don’t press. I do everything for, work. If I get there, so much the better, but it’s not just the draft to go to the NBA, there are several doors. Of course, when you’re in the NBA, you only have one thing to think about: playing basketball! What a dream!
“This summer I was able to work, especially on my weak points, and it’s worth it”
You removed your name from the draft twice. Is it hard to live?
no Two years ago I took him off because I thought he was going to come back and have a good season. The following season I got injured. Even when I went to exercise, I was still sore, so it was tough, but I don’t see it as a failure.
What memories do you keep of these trainings?
We receive feedback from the teams that tell us what to improve, what to work on. It also places us in the NBA world, we’ll see how it goes. I took a lot of experience.
With the high stats, do you think you have reached a new level this season?
The last two seasons I couldn’t have an off season, so it was difficult to work on my game, I was able to do it there, I was able to work on my weak points and it paid off.
Today, players go to the NBL to go to the NBA. Do you still feel after three years in Serbia that you made the right decision?
Just because many go to NBL doesn’t mean it’s the best option. In any case, I do not regret my choice!
You are in contact with French from your generation (Hayes, Maledon…) who is in the NBA?
Yes, of course, these are my boys (sic), we often talk, especially with Killian.
Do you think about the NBA every day?
In quotes, it’s far, because now is when I have to prove and play well. I have to think about the present and not too much about the future. It is the present that will carry me into the future.
Malcolm Calazon wants to prove himself in the NBA
If you were ever not selected, wouldn’t that be a disappointment?
You can’t get drafted and still go to the NBA. It will depend on my season.
If you hadn’t been injured, do you think you would have been drafted last June?
Yes, I think so, although that is easy to say.
Are you in contact with ex-Mega Nikola Jovic who was drafted by Miami?
Yes, we talk many times. Nikola is happy in Miami. He doesn’t get a lot of playing time, but he’s a rookie and there are experienced players at his position. He has a lot of experience and will get a foothold in this team in the coming years.
How is your life in Serbia?
I am in Belgrade, the capital. Everyone speaks English, it’s an international city. The change is not big. It’s not like I’m in a city with only Serbian culture. I adapted well.
At what level do you think he reached a plateau three years after his arrival?
In the details, in the game. I really learned the right investments, being in the right place at the right time. The workouts are very different. It’s 3 in the morning, 2 or 3 in the evening. But it was really tactically that I stepped forward.
Win or lose doesn’t matter when you’re in Mega…
… No way! People think that when you are in Mega, but we want to win.