Arizona men’s basketball center Christian Koloko captured the hearts of many Wildcat fans last season with his shot-blocking ability and seven-foot frame. Koloko was written off by many as he was part of Arizona’s loaded 2019 recruiting class that included NBA prospects Nico Mannion, Josh Green and Zeke Nnaji. 247sports described him as “raw” and “physically immature” coming out of high school and was seen by many as a work in progress.
But Koloko could only fly under the radar for so long as he quickly worked his way into the rotation and became one of the Wildcats’ most interesting players.
Koloko held a virtual press conference through Zoom on Wednesday, July 29, where he discussed his offseason activities. Here are some highlights from the interview.
Koloko on what he has been working on in the extended offseason: “I’ve just tried to work on my shot and my post moves. A little bit of my ball handling but mostly my shot, my mid-range, sometimes trying to step out and shoot threes, but my shot has been my priority at this time.”
Koloko on his weight-gaining program: “By the beginning of the season, I was at 215 [pounds] but by the end of the season, I was at 220 [pounds.] Right now, I’ve stayed the same weight. I didn’t gain any weight … I’m trying to be like 230 or 235 [pounds.] That’s about the right weight for me so that’s why I’m excited to get back to Tucson and work with coach [Ryan] Reynolds … I’m lifting but I don’t have all the equipment I need to really get bigger like we have in Tucson, so [Reynolds] can’t really help with that and give me some advice. I’m just doing with what I have right now.”
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Koloko on how the extended offseason has affected his workouts: “I’ve been really frustrated because I was thinking that this time would be the time for me to work on myself, work on my game and work on my body and get bigger, and I didn't really have the chance to do that. I was just at home trying to workout and it’s just not the same. At home, I don’t have any equipment. I just have a few dumbbells and some bands. At school, we have all the equipment we need to get bigger. For big guys like me, we got everything I need. Like I said, I was really frustrated when I realized I couldn’t go back to Tucson to work on my body because that was my main focus this summer.”
Koloko on speaking French with teammates Daniel Batcho and Ben Mathurin: “French is my first language, so where I come from we speak both French and English. [Batcho] is from France, so I don’t think there’s a lot of differences, so I think we’re all going to be speaking a lot of French. [Mathurin] speaks French too so there’s going to be a lot of French guys … I was [Mathurin’s] host during his visit so we’ve already talked a lot together.”
Koloko on trying to stay in contact with his teammates away from campus: “It’s kind of hard because we’re all in [Los Angeles], so usually during the summer, we hang out together and hoop together. This time has been tough but just talking on the phone, FaceTime and playing video games sometimes together. That’s the only thing we can do right now.”
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