Tidjane Salaun

Tidjane Salaun is a French basketball player in the NBA. Find all his news, origin, age, height, and weight here.
Tidjane Salaun
Tidjane Salaun. (© Alan Le Bolloch)

Origins of Tidjane Salaun

Tidjane Salaun was born on August 10, 2005, in Paris, Île-de-France. He grew up in the Paris region. His father is Pierre Salaun, and his mother, Inna Sissoko, is a former national-level basketball player. Tidjane’s older sister, Janelle Salaun, is a professional and international French basketball player.

Career History

Tidjane Salaun played for several clubs during his youth career. He started playing basketball in Orly. This French NBA prospect then continued his development in Arcueil and Charenton. After these experiences, he joined INSEP, a renowned French institution for training high-level athletes. Finally, Salaun joined Cholet Basket. After winning the French Espoirs Championship, he signed his first professional contract in the Mauges region. Tidjane Salaun is considered one of the top European prospects of his generation.

French National Team Experiences

Tidjane Salaun has had multiple experiences with the French national team, mainly in youth categories. In 2021, he participated in trials for the French U16 team, but an ankle injury prevented him from playing in the U16 European Championship that year. In 2023, Tidjane was highly anticipated for the U18 EuroBasket, having led Cholet’s Espoirs team to the French championship. The French team finished fourth in the competition.

Playing Style

Tidjane Salaun is a tall, mobile, and fluid small forward. He plays with a lot of heart and commitment, showing activity and efficiency in off-ball play. He is a good finisher near the basket and has a solid three-point percentage. His height and wingspan make him a good defender, although he still needs to improve in this area.

Interview with Tidjane Salaun

Interview conducted on September 3, 2023.

What has been your basketball journey so far?

I started playing basketball at age 8 in Orly, in the second-year mini-poussins category. Then, I spent a season in Arcueil before moving to Charenton, where I played until the France Minimes category. I joined the Pôle Espoirs during my last year there. After that, I went to INSEP for a year. I faced some injury challenges there, which is why I didn’t continue. I moved to Cholet, where I still play now. Everything is progressing well. I feel I improve each year, moving up levels. I played in U18, then Espoirs the following year with some pro practices. Now, I’m exclusively on the professional team.

What are your ambitions for this season with Cholet?

Individually, it’s to improve, get comfortable with the team, and become a dominant player. I’m working very hard for that. Collectively, my goals are to go as far as possible in each competition. First, we aim to qualify for the BCL. In Betclic Elite, it’s to win as many games as possible to reach the playoffs. We’ll address other goals as they come.

Can you talk about the winning culture within Cholet Basket’s training center?

Since I’ve known the club, it’s like a tradition in Espoirs. Cholet is a club of winners. When we approach games, we only think about winning and giving our all. At the training center, that’s our only goal, in both U18 and Espoirs. We set very high objectives.

You are currently projected in the first round of the 2024 NBA draft in most expert predictions. This will be your first year of eligibility. Do you plan to enter the draft next year or wait a year or two?

The goal would be to go to the NBA the following year. But for now, I’m not thinking about that. I’m focused on working on myself and maximizing my skills for the team. I want to earn as many minutes as possible and show what I can do.

When did the NBA become a goal for you?

Since I joined the Pôle Île-de-France.

Internationally, you participated in the ANGT with Cholet and were invited twice to the Basketball Without Borders camp. What did you take away from these experiences?

They were great experiences each time. You face different styles of play at the European level. You learn how other teams play. This helped when I played in the U18 European Championship last summer since I already knew some players.

Can you reflect on that international competition with the French U18 team?

I’m still upset about it. Finishing fourth was not my goal. I only aimed for first place, which we didn’t achieve. Some were satisfied not to have done worse, some teammates aimed for third place, but I only aimed for the gold medal. I play basketball to win games and be the best. It was a great experience because it was my first time wearing the French team jersey. But honestly, it wasn’t what I expected from our team. We didn’t all have the same ambition. Some didn’t aim high enough.

With the French U18 team, you had the chance to win an exhibition game against Bronny James and other high school players from the United States in the summer of 2022. Did you notice a difference in mindset between French and American players?

Facing American teams, in Nanterre and at the Treviso camp, you immediately see the difference. Their style of play is much more aggressive. They really want to dominate. They play less collectively but much tougher and more aggressively. They aim to overpower you and dunk. That’s their mentality. And that’s the difference with French players. In terms of goals, I think we don’t aim high enough.

Do you have NBA role models, players who inspire you?

Evan Fournier and Nicolas Batum. Evan also played for Charenton, my former club, during his youth. I’ve followed him for a long time and really like his personality. He’s a hard worker. He’s an exemplary player for me and everyone in terms of goals. He wants to win, he plays to win. That’s the mentality you need to have, in my opinion.

Does being a prospect add pressure during games?

No, I don’t feel pressure. For now, being an NBA prospect is a status, not an end goal. I’m focused on the present. Currently, I play in Betclic Elite. I think about winning games, doing my best, and improving in each game. Every game is an opportunity to progress. I don’t think about the draft. I wanted to win the tournament (in Vannes), but we lost. The NBA will be the result of all my efforts this year. Of course, it’s a future goal. But right now, I’m focused on being strong in the LNB.
We recommend you 👍