By Jennifer McDonell
Albion College welcomes international students on campus for sports, academia and immersement into American culture. Rad Ziani, a Greux, France senior, plays on the 2015-16 Albion College men’s basketball team. The Pleiad spoke with Ziani to learn about his current impressions of the college team routine and how his experience has changed from France to Michigan.
The Pleiad: Where are you from in France?
Ziani: I am from a town about 45 minutes away from Paris called Greux. I had an apartment in Paris that I rented before I came to Albion. It is really fun because we don’t have to live on campus.
The Pleiad: How long have you been playing basketball for? What are some of your favorite teams and players?
Ziani: It’s been 8 years in club. I play point guard. I primarily focus on the NBA and follow American teams. My favorite teams are the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Pistons do not have a good roster, but I liked them before, when they had Ben Wallace. My favorite French players are Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum.
The Pleiad: Why did you decide to go to Albion? Have you spoke English your entire life?
Ziani: Because my university in Versailles has an exchange program. I am staying here for one year to learn the language. I am not focusing on Econ. classes here, despite being my major, because the main focus of this year is to learn English. I have not spoke the language my entire life; I learned it in the beginning of middle school.
The Pleiad: Are there any big differences for you playing on an American team?
Ziani: It is very difficult for French people when you come here because when you come here you are considered professional; you have a lot of ways to improve your level. You have a shooting machine, and coaches are very involved and easy to speak [to]. It is really important to have a lot of practice and conditioning classes. In France we only have clubs that are not part of the university; it is outside of school. I do it for competitions, and I am at the competitive level.
The Pleiad: How many times a week do you practice?
Ziani: We haven’t started official practice, but we have open gym now. We do not have the coach with us. We also have conditioning classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6:45 a.m.
The Pleiad: Who are your top American basketball players?
Ziani: I usually like point guards. Overall though, I like, of course, Lebron James. I also like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.