Patrick Samoura (198-F-00, college: Cochise CC) is a 20 year old 198cm forward currently with the Czech Republic national team playing at the 2021 Super Cup Tournament in Hamburg, Germany. He has played his whole career with USK Praha (NBL) and last season played 16 games averaging 13.0ppg, 5.1rpg, 3.8apg, Steals-5 (1.7spg), FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 72.7%. He also played two seasons with Cochise College (JUCO) playing 30 games averaging 7.7ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 77.7% and 8.8ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 41.6%, 3PT: 28.0%, FT: 76.5%. He also has played at the U-16 and U-18 European Championships. He spoke to eurobasket during the 2021 Super Cup in Hamburg. Patrick thanks for talking to germanhoops.com.
Welcome to Hamburg, Germany. Is this your first time in Hamburg?
This is my first time in Hamburg. I have been in Germany before in the past playing some tournaments with my club Prague.
There is a lot of water in Hamburg. Does the water and old buildings remind you a bit of Prague?
Yes a little bit. So far from what I saw it’s very beautiful here. I like the rivers and scenery.
Talk a little about your roots: You have parents from two countries and how did you get to play basketball?
Yes that is correct. My mother is from the Czech Republic and my father is from Guinea, Africa. I was born in the Czech Republic. My parents met at university in the Czech Republic. When I was seven years old my uncle bought my brother and I a Play Station 2. We would play every day and soon I landed on the basketball court
How beneficial has it been having a brother like Samba around who is a skills development coach. Where would your game be today without him?
My game would be very bad without him. I was gifted as a kid, but not as much as other kids. My brother encouraged me a lot to just practice, practice practice. He was also very valuable in helping me develop my skills. I am where I am today as a player because of my brother.
Your with the Czech Republic National team playing the Super Cup. How exciting is it being with the national team at age 20?
It is a great opportunity. I’m very honored to be able to represent my country and be able to play against the best players in the world. I saw that Moritz Wagner will play against us. I’m very surprised to be on the court with these type of players. My goal is to get to the NBA.
Many NBA guys won’t be there like Daniel Theis and Maxi Kleber and when exactly Dennis Schroeder will arrive is unknown. But Isaac Bonga and Moritz Wagner will be there. Are you extra motivated to play against guys like that?
Most definitely am I very focused to play against them. They made it to the biggest stage in the world. I am very excited to play against them and compare my skills to theirs. I also want to see where I’m standing with my game in comparison to theirs.
Italy and Tunisa are also at the Super Cup. As a young player, what do you focus on most with your opportunity with being there with the National team.
I’m a competitor and love to win. I want to show that I can play at this level and prove that I deserve to be here.
How is the state of Czech basketball at the moment? Is basketball growing and how is the youth development going?
I feel that basketball in the Czech Republic continues to grow since we were sixth in the 2019 World Cup. But unfortunately is soccer and ice hockey still bigger than basketball. I feel like basketball is growing day by day. I see many talented young guys coming up from the ages 16-20. These players all have a good work ethic. They all want to play at a high level. They are all in good hands especially with my brother helping them with skills development.
What is it like being teammates with an amazing player like Blake Schilb. I always thought he was a guy that could have played in the NBA? He also has that fill up the stat sheet game like you do
Blake is a tremendous guy. He could of played in the NBA. When he was a junior in school, the Milwaukee Bucks wanted to pick him, but he decided to go back to school. He is a great teammate that has given me a lot of knowledge about the game. He is a great personality that is always calm. When you need a difficult basket, he will get it for you.
NBA player Tomas Satoransky and Jan Vesely will join the team soon. Have you met these guys before. Are you in total awe of them or are you able to act around them normally?
I have never met Jan. I have met Tomas and practiced with him playing some 2-2. He is a tremendous competitor that always tries to involve everyone on the court. I know that he has reached the national stage, but I try to treat him normal.
The Czech Republic will be playing against Uruguay and Turkey in Canada soon. How confident is the team that the Olympics could become a reality?
There is always a chance that you can make it. You never know what will happen. We want to reach the Olympics. We will try to win no matter who we play.
Let’s talk about your game. You’re a 198cm forward. If you had to compare your game to a NBA player who would best fit the description?
I don’t really have a role model to be honest. I think that on defense, I would compare my game to a Kawhi Leonard. Also the way I talk on defense, I would compare my game to a Draymond Green. On offense I can shoot and pass the ball
You are a team orientated player that knows how to fill the stat sheet. What do you feel is your biggest strength on the court?
My biggest strength is my defense. I can guard opponents and talk and fire up my teammates. I can also make shots and create for others when needed.
You’re a very good rebounder and playmaker. What do you feel helped you most make the jump from the U-19 league to the NBL league in terms of keeping consistency in your stats?
I think what helped me most bring this consistency from one level to the next was my two years in Juco. I gained a lot of self-confidence on offense.
Your three pointer continues to be a work in progress. Is this an area in your game that you are focusing on to keep improving?
Yes improving my three pointer is a big focus. I’m shooting as much as possible to be as consistent as possible. I feel that I have really improved my shooting recently.
You played two years at Cochise College (JUCO) playing 30 games averaging 7.7ppg, 6.3rpg, 2.4apg, 1.4spg, FGP: 46.5%, 3PT: 34.2%, FT: 77.7% and averaged 8.8ppg, 9.1rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 41.6%, 3PT: 28.0%, FT: 76.5%. What kind of an experience was playing JUCO in Arizona where basketball is very competitive? I always hear from players that JUCO is a very competitive league because every player wants the ticket to a higher league.
Yes that is very true. The JUCO is very competitive. Most guys don’t want to be in JUCO. Everybody wants to show how good they are. I was mainly there to help the team win and do whatever I could to help my team be successful. I was a role player.
Despite playing a different type of basketball to what you were used to in Europe, do you feel like your game made steps in the JUCO competition?
Yes I think so. I think that in America it is harder to get open and dribble. Everything is more contested. I felt that as I got more experience and confidence playing at the JUCO level, I was able to handle myself better and show what I had.
What was it like playing for Cochise College (JUCO) coaching legend Jerry Carillo who has been with the school for 24 years. How do you remember him helping you most with your game?
Coach Carillo taught me what working hard is all about. I was already a player that was used to working hard, but with him it was different. He taught me that every second counted on the court. Each possession counted and you had to always give 100%. I also learned that anybody can take your spot. He taught me to work hard and how to sell it on the court.
You began your career with USK Praha. How important has it been for your game having been able to play here? You have made a very positive development and you were introduced to the NBL at age 18?
I was very fortunate to be able to play for USK Praha. I believe that it has the best youth program in the Czech Republic. We played many tournaments in countries like France, Spain, Germany and Bulgaria. Being able to play my youth here and also in the NBL gave me valuable experience. I wasn’t just in the bubble in the Czech Republic, but I also was able to see how basketball was played elsewhere and at other levels. The club gave me the chance to practice with men when I was 18. That was a great upside for me.
At the end of the 2018-2019 season you played 30 and 20 minutes in the playoffs against top team CEZ Nymburk. What memories do you have of these games and playing against ex NBA player Bracey Wright?
I don’t remember too much from these games. I just remember that I was very nervous. I remember that at that time, I wasn’t playing with so much confidence, but I always tried my best. I wanted to show my best side playing against the best team.
Last season you played your first full season in the NBL with USK Praha (NBL) playing 16 games averaging 13.0ppg, 5.1rpg, 3.8apg, Steals-5 (1.7spg), FGP: 46.4%, 3PT: 26.9%, FT: 72.7%. How do you feel did your game develop in the NBL?
I got a lot of freedom and was able to develop offensively. I played with some great players and I feel like I developed tremendously. I was able to play point guard when our point guard was injured. My shooting developed and I learned to make tough plays in crucial moments
Twice you were close to a triple double last season including against Kolin. Your only 20 years old. Will that first one comes this season?
Perhaps next season. I don’t worry about triple doubles, but try to always do my best for ma team. I’m still waiting for my first triple double.
What will the future have for you? Do you see yourself playing in the NBL always or is your focus to move to higher leagues?
I definitely want to play internationally. I don’t want to stay in the Czech Republic. The NBL is a decent league, but my goal is the NBA and Euroleague. I will come back home to play in the NBL at the end of my career
Who has been the toughest player that you ever faced that might be in the NBA or Euroleague?
Blake Schilb and Tomas Satoransky. He is always so aware about everything that is happening on the court.
Who are your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Ondrey Sehnal, Blake Schilb, Robert Rikic, Vit Krejci, Stefan Bayard
What is your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?
Kobe, Jordan, Lebron, Steph Curry, Shaq
Will Luka Doncic be the best player in the NBA one day. Is he top 3 now?
I think that he will be the greatest of all-time one day.
What was the last movie that you saw?
Thanks Patrick for the chat.