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A look at the D-League through a Frenchman’s eyes

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D-League

Boris Dallo was drafted by Long Island in the first round of the D-League Draft, a 6’6” point guard just 22 years old but with extensive European experience in both his native France and Serbia where he played for legendary Partizan.

He was interviewed this week by his hometown paper in Nantes, France, west of Paris. He gave fans a look at what life is like for a young player in what Ouest-France calls “the antechamber of the NBA.”

In particular, he talked about how the Nets D-League arrangement, with the NBA and D-League teams sharing facilities and development helps everyone.

“Priority is given to the training of young players,” he noted. “The difference with Europe is particularly felt in the individualization of work, which is a higher priority here. We play every two days, but there is always a coach available to work with.”

Dallo, who missed the first week of camp because of visa problems and then broke his nose, has been playing less of late. But with Donnie McGrath, the team’s starting point guard headed to Greece, and Yogi Ferrell a possible 10-day call-up, he’s likely to see more action.

He notes as well that although he speaks English, he speaks in French with Kenny Atkinson who spent many years playing in France.

“For me, it's the best situation for a D-League club. Kenny Atkinson, coach of the Nets, is a former player passed through the Hermine de Nantes (where he first played in France). He remembered me little and we spoke directly in French.”

Then, there’s New York.

"I'm staying in Brooklyn (United States) in a studio above the Barclay Center, the Nets arena (apparently 461 Dean Street). Upon arriving, I was a little lost in the sense that everything is so much bigger. I take my marks little by little, I walk and I visit sites when I have time. I will see almost every Nets game and some Knicks matches at Madison Square Garden. I am aware of the chance I have, so I try to enjoy it.”

Bottom line though is his long-term goal: playing in the NBA. That’s why he entered the D-League Draft, where he was surprised at being taken in the first round.

He spoke as well about his NBA moment, when he realized he had a shot.

“On my first day of training camp, I pushed open the door of a room on the 8th floor of the [HSS Training Center) and I come face to face with Brook Lopez making free throws. I'm rarely impressed but there, with the jet lag, I rubbed my eyes and thought: ‘That's it, I'm there.’"