“Going from getting cut in the French second division after three games in my rookie year earning 2,200 euros a month to signing an NBA contract four years later… It’s crazy”. At the time of posting this tweet three weeks ago, Chima Moneke (26 years old, 1m98) measured the progress made.
With the satisfaction of having accomplished something extraordinary by signing for the Kings in view of his career, including two years in Pro B (Rouen, Denain, Quimper) a season in Betclic Elite (Orléans) to end with a big season in Manresa, Spain in 2021/22. And the determination generated by this huge new challenge.
“To be honest, I still don’t feel like it’s real. It’s amazing, everything is just crazy. Life is different now, but I just can’t wait to put on a jersey and go from there.
Mike Brown, the “game changer”
In an interview with SportingNews, post 4, which stands out for its boundless energy, its verticality and its aggressiveness on both sides of the floor, returned in particular to the main element that tipped its destiny, the signing of Mike Brown as Kings head coach.
Mike Brown has indeed rubbed shoulders with Chima Moneke in the Nigerian selection, and even if he did not select him for the Tokyo Olympics, he was the first to call him in view of this new adventure in California.
“In the case of Sacramento, I woke up to a missed call from Mike Brown the day of my Basketball Champions League final (May 8). He told me that unofficially he was going to be the Kings’ next head coach and when he found out he was going to get that job, I was the first name he thought of.
The toughest now comes before him. To hold the road, the strong winger therefore inflicts heavy work sessions in order to be ready for training camp.
“Six days of work a week, two training sessions a day, Monday to Friday, whether it’s hot yoga and shooting, shooting and weight training or shooting and then technical work. It’s a lot of work, to progress and feel comfortable. When I get to training camp, I’ll be comfortable and ready to go. I know NBA basketball is different. So I have to make sure that I use these two months well in order to be ready”.
A “dog” ready to snatch his place
His rather small position 4 profile, not really an outside shooter, is inevitably intriguing. But Mike Brown must think him capable of being able to compensate by playing on his qualities, by his overflowing activity, his athletic dimension and his sense of the game. To find a place in the rotation, he will have to fight because his contract is not only very partially guaranteed (250,000 dollars). That’s good, Chima Moneke is ready.
“It’s going to take time and it will depend on how I play in training camp and how easily I can acclimate to the team, the culture and my role. But nothing is given. Everything I will get this season will be because I deserve it and I can’t wait to do it.” he continued. “I’m an energizer, a dog, a tough guy who’s also fun to play with. Someone fun to watch, who makes his teammates better and knows how to make sacrifices”.
As he has proven by confirming this season at Manresa, in the Spanish league and in the BCL, Chima Moneke is not shy. He also knows his role and his strengths better than anyone, and slips in another quality that can make him a useful part of the team.
“I’m excited because I’m a guy who doesn’t need the ball to impact the game. We have two high-profile All-Stars (De’Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis) who can dominate the game and involve their teammates. It’s easy for me to play my role and to sacrifice myself”.