photo by Pac
|No. 22 – Free Agent|
|Species||Ring-Tailed Lemur ( Primates )|
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||195 lb (88 kg)|
|FBA draft||2016 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8th overall|
|Selected by the Tallahassee Typhoons|
|Pro playing career||2016–present|
|Career highlights and awards|
|(IC) Agent||Quinn McAllister|
|(OOC) Usage||Ask me before any use|
Few entrants into the 2016 FBA Draft will have taken as winding of a path to get to draft day as Tahiry Andriamatsinoro. The ring-tailed lemur's athletic skill saw him spending chunks of his formative years in three different continents and almost playing college basketball in a fourth, and he's never stayed in one place for very long.
Tahiry Andriamatsinoro was born in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on July 13, 1996. His father Hery, a supervisor at a textile factory and avid pickup soccer player, pushed young Tahiry into sports at an early age. The lemur quickly took to the pitch, showing a great amount of skill even as a young child.
It was Tahiry's skill in soccer that got him noticed by Liam Morton, a wallaby from Perth, Australia, who happened to be vacationing on the African island. Morton introduced himself to Tahiry, seven at the time, and his parents, explaining that he ran a youth sports academy in Australia and that Tahiry looked like a natural athlete who could reach the highest heights of fame and fortune. Tahiry was enthusiastic at the chance to leave Madagascar for the first time in his life, and he loved soccer and wanted to become a pro.
Wanting the best future for his son, Hery waved a tearful goodbye to Tahiry and his mother Felana, who both made the trip to Perth. Tahiry spent the next six years of his life taking classes and practicing soccer for hours a day. It was at the age of thirteen that Tahiry met another student at the academy, a young basketball player named Ross White. The two became fast friends, and Ross invited Tahiry to attend an exhibition game between two groups of basketball students. Tahiry was enthralled by the fast action and high scoring, and began meeting up with Ross as often as possible to learn more about the game.
Three months later, Tahiry approached Liam Morton and told him that he wanted to become a basketball player. Morton was initially skeptical of the switch, but soon realized that Tahiry's speed, well-developed footwork and size (he already stood 6'3" at the age of fourteen) meant that he could potentially develop into a great player. Tahiry was assigned a personal coach -- Milan Kocur, a Eurasian lynx who had spent seven years playing professionally in his native Slovakia -- and set about learning to play basketball. It quickly became apparent that there was a long way to go. While the basic physical tools were there, it was obvious that Tahiry had barely touched a basketball -- he couldn't shoot, could hardly dribble, and had no knowledge of the fundamentals of the game. Milan worked with Tahiry day and night, often having him shoot upwards of a thousand jump shots a day. By the time Tahiry turned sixteen, his basketball skills had vastly improved, both from focused coaching with Milan and from scrimmages played with fellow academy students. He was also excelling in academic classes, and had become one of the academy's most successful students. Unfortunately, at around the same time, Milan Kocur and Liam Morton had a major falling-out, and Milan made the decision to return home to Slovakia. He gave Tahiry the choice to stay in Australia with Liam and his mother or to come with him -- alone -- to Slovakia.
After many tears and long conversations, Tahiry made the decision to follow Milan to Slovakia to continue his basketball education. (He had graduated from the academic courses at the Australian academy early.) There, he faced tougher competition than he had at the academy in Perth, and it took him several months to adjust. However, the fact that Tahiry no longer had to take classes worked out quite well, as he was able to devote even more time to basketball and quickly became one of the country's top youth prospects. Unfortunately, his lack of Slovakian citizenship rendered him unable to play for the national team, but he was able to catch on with a local semipro team. Stat-keeping was iffy in the semipro league, but reports were that Tahiry was averaging around 20 or 30 points a game, mostly utilizing the jump shot that he had so constantly drilled with Kocur at the academy. This stat was made all the more impressive by the fact that many of the league's players were ten to fifteen years older than Tahiry. As Tahiry turned seventeen, he seemed to be moving nicely along the path that Kocur had set for him -- he had begun to attract notice from top-flight Slovakian pro clubs, and Kocur thought of this as a likely path for Tahiry to reach a team in one of Europe's more well-known national leagues. (It helped that he had grown to 6'7" by this point.) However, an alternate path opened up when a scout from the Universidad Peludo de Puerto Rico happened to find himself at an exhibition game between the semi-pro all-stars and the Slovakian U-20 national team -- a game in which Tahiry scored 43 of his team's 89 points in a losing effort. The scout, a cougar from Florida named Jimmy Kent, approached Tahiry after the game. UPPR was looking for a scorer to replace the departed Ricardo Rodrigues, and Kent was very interested in recruiting the young lemur. Kent told Tahiry that playing in Puerto Rico could give him a shot at an FBA career in the States. Intrigued, Tahiry went to Milan Kocur, who told him, Go for it. You've got nothing left to learn from me. And so it was that Tahiry Andriamatsinoro packed up his belongings once again and moved into a dorm in the suburb of Bayamόn, Puerto Rico. However, a cruel twist of fate then jeopardized Tahiry's basketball future. It turned out that his play in the Slovakian semipro league had rendered him ineligible to play in Puerto Rico -- a fact he did not learn until a week before the season. Panicked and in tears, Tahiry called Milan Kocur -- the only person he could think of to contact. Milan paid for Tahiry's plane ticket back to Slovakia and took the young lemur in once again. With college no longer an option, Tahiry again turned his attention towards top Slovakian clubs. Oddly, he didn't get a lot of interest from the top teams in the Slovak PrváLiga, who preferred to develop players from their own youth academies (as opposed to the semi-pro circuits, which were generally seen as inferior). Eventually, though, he caught on with Prešov PBK, a middle-of-the-road team in Prešov. The PrváLiga game was a substantial step up (in both skill and difficulty) from the semi-pro league, and Tahiry struggled in his first truly professional season, getting few minutes and not playing particularly effectively when he was on the floor. (The team struggled mightily as well, finishing near the bottom of the PrváLiga standings.) However, a combination of two fortuitous events turned his career in Slovakia around. First, the team's coach was fired after a 3-8 start the next season; then, the starting small forward quit the team because of a contract dispute. Tahiry was pushed into the starting spot and found himself immediately gelling with the new coach's up-tempo style. He started scoring, and Prešov PBK started winning games, at one point rattling off six consecutive victories. They went into the PrváLiga playoffs as the league's hottest team and reached the finals, played against league powers BK Bratislava and attended by various scouts for European leagues, along with a couple of FBA scouts.
Tahiry struggled early in the game, missing seven of his first ten shots, as Prešov PBK fell behind 49-33 at halftime. The coach benched Tahiry for the third quarter, and the team was able to make a dent in the lead, with the score standing at 71-60 going into the fourth quarter. Buoyed by a surprise phone message from his father and mother received in the locker room before the fourth quarter, Tahiry returned to the game and played like a lemur possessed, at one point making three-pointers on four straight possessions, as Prešov PBK stormed back to take an 89-88 lead with thirteen seconds left. BK Bratislava passed the ball around, looking for the final shot, when Tahiry burst into a passing lane and clinched the game with a steal, diving and knocking the ball down the floor as time expired.
After considering his strong showing (and steady improvement) in his second season of PrváLiga play, Tahiry's coach suggested that the young lemur declare for the FBA Draft. Tahiry did just that, confidently and excitedly taking the next step in his career. It remains to be seen how FBA teams will react to this little-known, well-traveled small forward, for whom the draft combine will be his first time in the United States. Personality: Tahiry is rather flashy and loud on the court. One of his preferred defensive strategies seems to be talk your guy's ear off, and he is very outgoing with the media and fans. He's a bit of a partier -- though he doesn't drink much -- and he likes electronic music. He's smart, quick-witted, and laughs loudly and often. His voice is interesting -- an amalgamation of accents picked up from the various places he's lived -- but settles somewhere in between Malagasy and Australian accents for the most part. He's fluent in Malagasy and English and conversationally competent in Slovak and Czech. Appearance: Tahiry is 6'8" and 195 pounds -- tall and wiry, without a ton of added muscle. He has a Mohawk/fauxhawk-esque haircut, and he likes to dye it various bright colors. He dresses similarly off the court -- bright, attention-grabbing outfits. He has the yellow eyes typical of a ring-tailed lemur.
2016 - 2017 Regular Season Stats