[Rétro] When Mustapha Fall was a contested young pivot player at AS Monaco in Pro B.

“What did I mean by saying I learned domination in Monaco? Ok what… huh did you say that?! When is that? Yes, in March 2016, Mustafa, at our mic. But in six years, with a career evolving on a meteoric trajectory and a growing experience of practicing The media, we have every right not to think about the same thing anymore.” “No, all of a sudden, I won’t say that anymore,” smiles the Olympiacos hub, ASM’s opponent in the Euroleague quarter-finals on Wednesday. “On the other hand, Monaco was really the first time In which I was able to play a real role in a team, to be a starter, to be 100% part of the project, I was no longer considered a young man. »

Back in 2014. At that time, Mostafa Located (2.18m), 22-year-old is the intriguing interior of the Pro B qualifier finalist team, Poitiers, able to dominate the game (35 ratings against Châlons-Reims in November 2013) barely four years after basketball started By chance with the cadet department at Neuilly-sur-Marne. Still under contract with PB86, he wants to break out of his cocoon and go somewhere else. In Pro A, Le Havre is studying her profile in order to replace Bangaly Fofana but above all AS Monaco working on the Fall profile. “His agent, Herant Manakian, called me to tell me that he would like Mustafa to come to my house because he needed another letter, another psychology,” recalls Savo Vosevich, a former Roca coach. “I knew him a little, but nothing more. After watching the videos, I immediately decided to take them. I saw something in him.”

“I have seldom seen such reading in adults”

Having just been crowned France’s NM1 champion, ASM looked like a UFO in the tricolor basketball scene. So much so that the National Basketball Association prevented the club from joining for a long time, citing the geographical location of its main office. Despite the stalemate that lasted until the beginning of September, Mustapha Vall saw in him confirmation of his ability to continue to play leadership roles, the reassurance of conscription in Monaco, and the ability to play a substantive role. “The fact that he was French, Jonathan Tornato in this case, reassured me in my position,” says the one who previously worked alternately with Ahmed Nevins and then Laurence Ekberegin at Poitiers. “I had no doubts that I would enjoy my playing time if I performed well.” Two visions became reality ten months ago, Roca would be crowned champions of France Pro B with an average of 20 minutes per game for their giants in the Ile-de-France region.


Since his season in Monaco, Mustapha Vale has developed greatly physically
(Photo: Sebastian Grass)

Slowed at times by Vienna’s physical flaws, Mustafa Fall’s power was greatly enhanced in the principality. “We worked with him a lot,” says Savo Vosevich. “At the start of every training session, during warm-ups and sprints, I put him to one side with a physical trainer so he can practice the rhythm for about twenty minutes. A physical boom, obviously repeated through a purely professional basketball practice.” Given his size, we did all Something to bring him closer to the basket,” emphasizes Montenegro. Seduced by his vision of the game, he’ll also try to develop his qualities as a dealer in short roll situations. “I’ve rarely seen such a reading in a huge man,” he says, noting the progress made by someone protecting him with his ex and his back to the circle.

However, on the ground, Mustafa Fall occasionally scrambles, swinging a tournament disproportionate to his size, full of undersized, energized and explosive hubs. “It helped me, it taught me to defend in small indoor spaces, to all kinds of players,” he testifies, noting in particular the name of MVP Davante Gardner (Hyères-Toulon) among those who admired him at the time. And if his stats were not exceptional (6.7 points at 67%, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 against 11.6 ratings), he was of fundamental importance in Monaco’s crown. “It was very important in my system,” he praises Savo Vucevic. “In defense, he deters everything. You had to see him when he started parachuting into the racket, you can’t shoot in front of him. He’s been doing a lot of specific things that you don’t see in the stats. But sometimes people just watch that, so what do I do about that? “

Misunderstanding Killingsworth

Perhaps the hint at the end of his adventure in Monaco, spurred on by the desire of President Sergei Diadeshko, dissatisfied with the performance of the double Fall – Tornato, to bring the indicated Marco Killinsworth, who was previously seen in his hometown of Donetsk. “In February we won in Toulon, the leader, and we opened a street for Pro A,” Savo Vucevic has been grappling with the topic for the past year. “I keep hearing that Mustafa Val was not good, that we have to recruit another internal person and put Obasuhan aside. I put a veto but another player arrived anyway.” We ranked very well, and I think we had a really good racket, so no one understood why I removed the Obasuhan to add a third axle. “A young player looking for responsibility, legitimately worries and opens up to his coach. The latter slips: “He was afraid.” “But I stuck with him and really trusted him. So I told him that Killingsworth’s arrival wasn’t his problem and that he would stay on the ground if he didn’t give up. Except that after a month where he only gave 12 minutes of play, his Bar technical chiefs ordered his rookie player to be put on the field. He did not comply and was promptly fired by the ASM. “I did not want to contribute to the destruction of Mustafa’s career,” he declared seven years later, almost proud of this episode. “I am very happy with his development. His extraordinary career makes me say that I was fair and that I made the right decision. Deserves. He is a kind and assertive boy, a huge worker.”

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Fred Adjuano, among the interiors crossed in Pro B by Mustafa Val
(Photo: Sebastian Grass)

Vucevich thanked in an incredible way, and then an unknown coach named Zvezdan Mitrovic arrived at the rock. From 18 minutes against Souffelweyersheim on 7 March 2015, his playing time was reduced to 8 minutes the following week, at Lille, then 13 minutes at Poitiers. His lowest set since the third day! Val smiled, “But he also didn’t play Killingsworth after that.” In fact, the future Roca coach was quick to give him the keys until the Parisian finished as MVP on Day 33 of Pro B (30 ratings in 26 minutes at Saint-Quentin). “Zvezdan was tougher, demanding, he brought another way of working, without changing much in our basketball,” the player advances, not forgetting to think of Savo Vucevic. “He gave me confidence and responsibility. I appreciate the fact that he sacrificed himself for us. He could have obeyed the directions but he went against it because he felt it didn’t make sense. He left with pride, I have a lot of respect for that.”

An episode that will leave its mark on the relationship between Mustapha Vale and Monaco. While his initial plan, at the time of his signing, was to find the elite in the company of Roca, the player finally decided to give another direction by dealing with neighbor Antibes. “I felt the atmosphere of the kitchen,” he says. “I knew they were going to bring back a great American (Adrian Uter, editor’s note), and they were also in contact with Junior Mbeda so I wouldn’t be able to express myself. There was no stability in Monaco, they were able to sign or send players out at any time. I did not feel the confidence of the club.” “The decision which then aroused a lot of remorse from FC Monaco, who bit their fingers because it let it slip through their hands, to the point of trying to bring it back several times, no later than last summer, for example, by his signature in Piraeus. .

French Pro B Championship,
The cup tastes less than the others

Now with an impressive resume, with the title of Vice-Olympic Champion at the top of the bill, Mustafa Foul opened his award slate on The Rock. The trophy thus remains a memory of the first in the Pros, but it has not been valued at its fair value through its acceptance. “Honestly, I didn’t enjoy this title as much as I like Shalon, for example. We were so big for a Pro B, it just felt like we did what we had to do. And after that, you don’t really feel like a champion when you’re not in the playoffs. And with However, securing first place wasn’t easy, with a team from Hyères-Toulon only cracking in mid-April. There is also still a memory, especially useful for the future, of a high-level apprenticeship behind the scenes.” It was the first time I felt Really click the result. At Poitiers I was still a bit innocent, in the comfort of a family club. In Monaco, I learned a lot about the business part of the sport. Leaders were accustomed to quickly achieving results by investing money, they wanted everything to go quickly. And then, above all, find a runway. “It was a good season, which allowed me to get into Pro A. It was really a start in my career.”

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Beautiful loot for one season on the rock

Since the 2015/2016 exercise, the two sides’ paths have crossed multiple times, especially last year when Fall was at ASVEL, but he’s clearly never reached such heights. “I had no doubts that Monaco would succeed but I still don’t think it would go so quickly,” he admits. “It is special to find them in the Euroleague quarter-finals, yes, but not only because it is Monaco. I would not have imagined traveling abroad and facing a French club at this level. It is special but good, it will be fun.” Fun, but above all balanced and unexpected Roughly, even if Olympiacos, the runners-up for Olympiacos, could logically be considered the favourite. “We have a lot of respect for Monaco, the chain can go both ways. With his brief experience in the principality, Mustapha Vall is well positioned to know that the sanctuary can be stubborn when he has an idea…

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