Thursday, March 03, 2005
by Adrienne Betts, UA Media Relations
“Allez-Les Mecs!” “Beto Kuenda!” “Roll Tide!” Jean Felix can say it in almost as many ways as he can hurt his opponents on the court. At first glance, one might think Michael Jordan has come out of retirement to play for the Tide. But look beyond the similarities – jersey number 23, bald head, elbow band, leg warmer and explosive dunks - and you will find Jean Felix, a well traveled, well educated and extremely talented guy. Jean Felix grew up in the Congo Republic of Africa but moved to France during high school before bringing his game to the United States. After playing two seasons as Bevill State, Jean Felix has come to the University of Alabama, helped provide a major spark off the bench, and has easily become a fan favorite.
In the following interview, Felix talks about home, and adapting to life at Alabama.
How big was basketball in the Congo Republic of Africa?
“It was big there, but the main sport was soccer. The competition was good, but I wanted to get better and get more experience. I moved to France and there was better competition. I got better everyday.”
Last year, you were named Alabama Sportswriter’s Association JUCO Player of the Year, the best in all sports. What did that mean to you?
“That meant a lot. I always put God first. I believe He is with me and does great things for me. I have to give Him credit for that.”
You have lived in Africa, France and America. Which place has been your favorite?
“You know, there’s no place like home. I love to meet new people and share feelings and learn new things. That is what I get at home.”
You and your teammate, Lucky Williams are both from Africa. Do you guys have a special bond because of your similar backgrounds?
“Lucky is probably my number one friend here. He is the closest to me. We hang out and have fun together and share stuff from home. Just the other day we were talking about cooking stuff.”
If Alabama could play any team in the NCAA tournament, who would you want to play and why?
“We just want to make sure we get there. We will be ready for anyone. We’re not afraid to play anyone, but we respect them all. But if I had to choose, I would choose Wake Forest. They are good now.”