Before the regular season kicked off I wanted to catch up with Melvin Ejim, just to give the fans a glimpse into his life in Rome. He was, as always, more than generous with his time, answering my questions via email. Hope you enjoy!
Cyclone Sidebar: Tell us a little about the team and league you are playing in? How is the competition?
Melvin Ejim: I am playing for Virtus Roma, a first division team in the Italian Serie A, and also apart of the Euro Cup. Our team is made up of about half Italian players and half American players. The competition has been great, there are a lot of good players here. The level of talent and skill is very high and I’m enjoying the fact that I have been exposed to a new type of play.
CS: How has the season been going for you? Stats, team in the standings, etc?
ME: The season has started off well. Our team is 3-1 in the league and 3-0 leading our Euro Cup group. So we have gotten off to a great start. My number have been okay, but that has to do with the learning curve and getting use to a new style of play and rules. I think as I continue to learn my numbers will improve a lot.
CS: As a history major, Rome seems like a pretty cool place to live and make a living. Have you had the chance to enjoy living there?
ME: Being in Rome has been great. Every chance I get I go out enjoy the beautiful scenery and learn more about an incredible historic city. I was able to learn a bit in the classrooms of Iowa State and now I’m learning by roaming the streets of Rome.
CS: How has the adjustment to Italy gone? Are you fluent in Italian yet?
ME: I think the adjustment has gone pretty well. There are no Walmarts and stores we are familiar with besides McDonalds and Burger King, but there are more than enough places to get the things you need and find good healthy alternatives. The food has been great and has been the easiest transition. My Italian is getting better day by day, I’ve actually been able to pick up on a lot and hope to be able to speak it fluently one day.
CS: What is the biggest difference between European basketball and college basketball?
ME: I think the biggest difference between European basketball and college basketball is the rules and style of play. The object of the game is the same, score the ball and try to prevent the other team from doing so but the way teams play, the ideals, rules and mannerism are very different and take time in itself to get adjusted to.
CS: Do you have any American teammates? Other Americans in your league?
ME: I have 4 American teammates. Jordan Morgan from Michigan, Brandon Triche from Syracuse, Bobby Jones from Washington and Kyle Gibson from Louisiana Tech. And the league is full of Americans on every team.
CS: What do you miss most about living in the United States?
ME: What I miss most about the United States is Iowa State and Cyclone Alley. The fans in Europe do get a little wild and loud but nothing companies to the atmosphere and experience at Iowa State. The real Colosseum might be in Rome, but the one I want to be in is in Ames!
CS: What is your favorite thing about Rome?
ME: My favorite thing about from would have to be the relaxed lifestyle and the ease of being able to access beautiful and historical structures, museums and places.
CS: As you reflect on last season and your career in Ames, what are the thoughts that go through your head?
ME: Last year was an incredible year for myself, teammates and Iowa State, which will be cherished and remembered for a long time. As I look back I can’t help but believe we have started something incredible and can’t wait to see where it goes.
CS: Are you going to try to catch any Iowa State games on the internet? What do you think about the Cyclones for this upcoming season?
ME: Luckily there is a ISU design college here in Rome and they have already reached out to me. I was able to catch a football game there with about 50 students, so I’ll definitly catch a basketball game. I’m super excited to see how great this season will be. I’m hearing great things about the new guys Bryce and Hallice, as well as the freshmen Georgios and Clayton. Those guys are in for a treat, there’s nothing quite like Hilton Magic. I’m excited for Sherron to get a opportunity to show how great a player he is. Kourtlin is just a workaholic, we have already seen his athleticism. Matt will have an expanded role and I look forward to him making some big shots. I think we’ve seen a bit of how much of a beast Edozie will be. Everyone is anticipating the apperence of Abdel and Jameel, respectively, and from playing with those guys I’m sure Cyclone fans will fall in love with them. Last but not least, I’d say I’m expecting Dustin, Monte, Naz and Georges to do something incredible this year, but they have already proven themselves. The rest is a formality. Iowa state is in great hands, these four guys have proven time-after-time that they are capable, that they are all great players in their own right and coming together they will make something special once again. Coach Fred has done it again with another great group of guys, wishing them luck and a great year.