MM ‘double up’ Champion Jules Dang-Akodo is on the verge of making history by joining fellow British guard Mo Soluade in Spain’s LEB Gold pro men’s division. In finalising his recent signing at Burgos, Dang-Akodo joins Soluade as the first British backcourt to play together at a high level over in mainland Europe – made even more impressive by both of them still being under 21.
We court up with Jules on his way out to Spain to get his thoughts on the new challenge and the opportunities that lay ahead…
MM: Congratulations on signing in Spain! It’s a big move for you! What made up your mind to make the switch across to LEB Gold?
JDA: Thank you. I feel like playing in LEB gold is a great opportunity and another step forward towards my ultimate goals. It’s a great league for me to continue to improve and I’m looking forward to the challenge.
MM: You’ve been on the rise now as an emerging young pro for the last few seasons now – what are your expectations for your season ahead?
JDA: I am expecting to have a successful season, also prove that I can play at that level. I’m also looking forward to playing with Mo.
MM: Funny you should mention that, we were just going to ask how you feel about joining another elite young British player in the back court, Mo Soluade, how do you see yourselves gelling together and how do you feel about being part of the first pro British backcourt to represent overseas together at the same time, same team?
JDA: I think gelling together will be easy as we have played together in the past. I feel really good about it all as we are both really young and still trying to prove ourselves. This will be my first time playing on the same team with another British player so I am looking forward to it will be fun.
MM: Despite a lot of interest from US Colleges, you decided to go pro and start your career via Europe from a young age – why did you choose pro over college and how do you feel you’re developing as a pro player in Europe compared to how you would have in American college?
JDA: I stayed in Europe because it was tough from the start. I chose to step out of my comfort zone, because I know that’s what will always make me better. I also felt like the development pathway was perfect for me as a young player being able to train and play with elite men every day. Nothing against college, but this was the right move for me.
MM: You’ve captained GB this summer and led from the front once again – how did the experience help prepare you for your season ahead?
JDA: Playing with the GB U20 two summers in a row and being named as captain this summer really prepared me to be a better leader, being that extended coach on the court and helping guide my team mates. It’s definitely made me a better communicator and I’ll look to use all I’ve picked up as I go into this season.
MM: What advice would you give to other young players looking to do what you’ve done and go the European route instead of America?
JDA: Taking the European route isn’t easy you have to be able to step out of your comfort zone and be prepared for things to not always go your way but (ultimately) do what you feel is best for you and put in the work and things will work out.
MM: Thanks for your time Jules! Best of luck for the season ahead – we’ll be following you and staying up to date with both you and Mo as you do your thing in Spain!
JDA: Thanks for the support!
You can stay up to date with every step of Jules season in Spain with the new season of About To Go In – featured each week on midnightmadness.tv from late September.
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Photo Credit: Nat Dodman