Europe

Michael Craion Jr : « In Iceland, it was fun being the go to guy »

Craion
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American power forward Michael Craion jr. (6’5, 28 years old) is ready to start his sixth professional basketball season in Europe. For his second consecutive year, he will be playing in France next season, after four amazing years in Iceland. Check out his story!

Can you introduce yourself?
Michael Craion jr. Started playing basketball at a young age just playing with people in my neighborhood. At 13 is when I first got on a real basketball team.

When did you were thinking about make a living playing pro ball?
Playing professional basketball has always been a dream for most kids where I’m from but I started thinking about it in high school when I started taking it a little more serious .. it was always just something to do for fun but after my skills developed more i started realizing it was more of a possibility.

You started your pro basketball career overseas in Iceland, a country where you stayed during 4 years. Moreover, you won few championships there and also individuals honors. How was the experience? Did you saw a progression year by year during that 4 seasons?
Iceland was a great experience for me it’s a beautiful place to see .. It was my first time out of the country so I got to learn a lot about the differences in the European culture..I seen progression in my game as far as playing differently than college I had to adapt to the way that basketball is played over here and it made me more aggressive offensively ..

I had to say that you were definitively a franchise player everywhere you played in Iceland. You had impressive statistics, you could scored more 30 points and grabbed more than 20 rebounds in a game. How was your feeling about it?
It was fun being the go to guy.. At my university I had to take on a different role so when I got to Iceland I enjoyed being able to play more freely and having to score a lot and getting all the rebounds I can just came with it.

Despite being a power foward or center, you are also a very good ball intercepter. How did you developed that skill?
I developed into being a good intercepter because I always played against adults that were bigger and stronger when I was young so I learned that if I don’t allow them to catch the ball then I don’t have to play defense on them so I learned how to use my speed to steal the ball.

You discovered France last year, playing for Lorient in D3. Again, you were one of the best scorer and rebounder in the championship. What is the level of competition in Nationale 1 compared to Iceland D1?
The level of competition in N1 and Iceland is similar.. The difference in the leagues are in Iceland there is only the top 4-5 teams that are real competition and the other teams you pretty much know your going to win if you don’t play horrible but in N1 most teams are competitors and anyone can lose any game if you don’t come to play.

Few months ago, you signed a new deal with an other team in French nm1 : Saint-Vallier. Did you had others opportunities, in Pro B (french D2) for example? What will be your individual and team goals next season?
I had no other opportunities in Pro B.. I think I signed pretty early but Saint Vallier offered me what I wanted so I couldn’t turn it down..
Our team goal is to win it all of course and if we are all on he same page then my individual goals will fall into place.

What is your training and holidays program during the off season?
In the off season, I’m enjoying my family and friends for the most part .. I play pick up basketball with some of the other professional and college players around my city but that’s about it.

To conclude, did you had time to enjoy Europe (cities, countries, etc.) during your seasons overseas?
Last year I got to see Paris so I was happy with that ..I haven’t got to visit any other countries but that is something I want to do ..after the season I may try to see some other nice cities in Europe.

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