Monday, September 5, 2016

Uno En Uno With: Aristide Boya, The Conrad Academy

ZS: What's the level of basketball like in Africa and which aspects played into your decision to take your game to America?

AB: The basketball in Cameroon is not big, it's a very small community. It is so-so. The interest there is not as big as here.

The game in the United States is fast and really good. I wanted to be able to play here one day and get better competition. I watched NBA players, guys like Tristan Thompson and LeBron James and Anthony Davis. They showed me what the American game is all about and how much heart is in it. I also watched YouTube videos of Shaq and Hakeem Olajuwon and that influenced me to come here.

ZS: How quickly did you grow and how has your game grown in the process? Which aspects do you hope to improve at as your development and progression continues as a sophomore at The Conrad Academy this season?

AB: This year, I grew to 7-feet. I was 6-11 last year and now I have gotten to this height.

Coach Johann (Mpondo), he teaches me how to move without the ball, how to rebound, and a lot of post moves. He helps me improve my shot and my form. I'm most comfortable around the rim but with head coach Wiseman and coach Brad Traina, they make sure my ball handling is on point and that I'm able to dribble and put the ball on the floor without problems. I understand they need me to have all around game and ball-handling is important to that.

ZS: What was your experience like on the AAU circuit this summer and how did it prepare you for the American brand of basketball?

AB: I play for Indiana Elite with Mark Adams. We had a real good team. We had the opportunity to go to Las Vegas and we won out there, which was very special.

(Class of 2019 forward) Micheal Moreno, he basically led our team in all categories. He is 6-feet-6 and he can do a number of things on the court. He plays with a little bit of everything but shooting and passing is where he shines.

ZS: What are your goals, team-wise, as well as your individual aspirations in the SIAA this season?

AB: I want to win a championship above all. I want to become a key piece with shot-blocking, rebounds, and shooting. Defense is very important and coach Johann preaches my involvement in defending the basket and protecting our paint. From what I hear, the SIAA is top level competition and that I like. I've heard I will get to go against guys my size and am excited about the challenge.

ZS: Was it tough leaving home and transitioning to a new country and how did your family and support system feel about your decision?

AB: In Cameroon, I played in high school. I was probably the tallest and the best player. The competition was good--not as good as here.

My father works in a factory and my mother is retired. They both understand the value of hard work. So, they tell me to come out here and find my role. They tell me to be a leader. They both agreed that it was the best decision as far as increasing my basketball portfolio.