ROME (heinnews) – Paul Eboua wows you first with his physical tools. The Stellazzurra Basketball Academy Rome forward is 2.00m (6-foot-7) and stretches out his impressive 2.22m (7-foot-3) wingspan. Then you look at his game and see a lot of potential as a long term wing.

And then you learn that Eboua only started playing basketball seriously in the summer of 2015 and it all gets more interesting.

Eboua, who only turned 17 on February 15, was born in the Cameroon capital Yaounde and grew up in Douala – the country’s largest city. He arrived in Rome in the summer of 2015 when Stellazzurra brought him over to Italy into their academy.

“I moved to Rome because Stellazzurra wanted me to play basketball. So, my life was changed,” Eboua said.

Paul Eboua is rising up talent scouts’ rankings with his great play and impressive skills package at Stellazzurra Basketball Academy Rome. Photo: Stellazzurra BA Rome

Eboua left the northern Central African country with an older brother and two younger sisters back home. And it was a series of firsts to come.

One of the keys to Eboua getting through the move was fellow Cameroonian Jordan Philippe Bayehe, who is also with Stellazzurra.

“Jordan for me is like a real brother. We went to Italy together and he helps me every time when I have difficulties,” Eboua said. “I can’t imagine myself here without him.”

Eboua said he spoke with Bayehe in Cameroon before coming to Italy after Bayehe had already been to Stellazzurra on a trying.

“He explained to me what I would find in Rome in Stellazzurra. I was happy and excited but also a little scared because I understood that I was close to changing my life.”

He said things have been so much easier with Bayehe around.

“Like the first time when we went in Europe. We took a flight from Africa with a stop in Istanbul and it wasn’t easy for me to find the new connection. It was the first time that I saw an airport.”

He has enjoyed his time in Rome thus far.

“I think in Europe I have more chances to develop myself. I like the life here but more than anything else, I think it’s the perfect place for me to become a better player every day.”

Eboua said he only learned about basketball about a year before coming to Italy. He said he was practicing only about five or six times a month – a drastic change to Rome where he started practicing twice a day.

“I started to finally see real basketball with other teammates, opponents and teamwork etc,” said Eboua.

“I love to play basketball. In particular because it’s one way to stay together with my friends. For me to be part of a team is like living with brothers.”

Giacomo Rossi, the sports director of Stellazzurra said Eboua is coming along excellently off the court.

“He is great. He speaks Italian perfectly now. He also speaks French and a little English. In school he is okay,” Rossi said. “He is like a big brother to the young kids in the academy.”

Of course there are areas for Eboua to improve on the court.

“I think the next step is to be more concentrated during the game,” Rossi said.

“He received a good basketball from god but here he has worked very well on his coordination and nutritionism in the last two years.

“He has improved his shot a lot and now he needs to work on his dribble because he will need that to really play a shooting guard or small forward. And on defense, he can already play against the point guard or the big man.”

Stellazzurra play a lot of international tournaments, which give Eboua a chance to face off against many of the best teams and players in Europe.

“When I play in this kind of tournament, I am trying to understand at what level I am. For sure, I see that I need to run and jump more than my expectations,” said Eboua, who is expected to be one of Stellazzurra’s leaders at the up-coming Adidas Next Generation Tournament in Belgrade.

Another big event for Eboua was the 2016 Jordan Brand Classic international team in Brooklyn.

“Amazing experience. I saw a lot of good players who were a lot better than me,” said Eboua, who collected 2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal and 1 block in the game.

“One of my memories was missing a big dunk in the game.”

When asked who some of the players he looks up to, Eboua said: “Kawhi Leonard. I like how he keeps developing his game. I think he is monster player.”

“I think in Europe I have more chances to develop myself. I like the life here but more than anything else, I think it’s the perfect place for me to become a better player every day.” – Eboua

Eboua also said he loves watching his fellow Cameroonian Joel Emiid.

“Embiid is a very amazing player. I’m sure that he will be one of the best players in all of the NBA,” Eboua said.

The talented youngster also said he would love to play for his native Cameroon one day.

“I’m a fan and I hope that we can win something very soon. We could have a good team if all the NBA players would go there,” he said. “I hope one day to play for Cameroon.”

Eboua was also asked about his goals to which he said: “My goal is to a basketball player at the highest level possible. I know that now I’m not a very good player but I hope very soon to be a good player.”

And his dreams?

“My dreams … I prefer not say to anybody … but I have my goals.”

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