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Second-round pick Kaba to play in France next season

Hawks second-round draft pick Alpha Kaba signed with ASVEL of the French Pro A League and will continue his career overseas next season.

The power forward/center signed a three-year deal with the French team, it was announced by his agent Friday. Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk has said from draft night in June that it was likely the prospect would again play overseas. Schlenk confirmed the signing and expected plan for next season for the 21-year-old Kaba on Friday.

ASVEL competes in the French Pro A League and the EuroCup. Spurs point guard Tony Parker serves as president of the team which plays in Villeurbanne, a suburb of Lyon.

“It is a great satisfaction to have been able to sign Alpha, a young but already productive and promising interior that is part of a long-term project with us,” Parker said in a translated statement. “The fact that he signed three years is a continuation of our desire to retain the players and to have a real identity to which our public and our partners can join. Alpha will be the last rookie of our offseason and will complete an ambitious and competitive workforce on our two major objectives: the French championship and the EuroCup.”

The Hawks selected the 6-foot-10 Kaba with the 60th overall and final selection in the NBA Draft in June. The native of France appeared in five games for the Hawks’ entry in the Las Vegas Summer League in July and averaged 5.0 points (on 10 of 20 shooting) and 4.0 rebounds in 11.2 minutes. The Hawks will continue to hold Kaba’s draft rights.

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Kaba said in Las Vegas that he was focused on his play in summer league and would discuss his future following the tournament. He said he wanted to use the experience to continue to expand his game and be able to stretch the floor as a big man.

“I’m feeling more comfortable when I’m stretching my game,” Kaba told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I try to get more comfortable in my low-post game and close to the basket because that’s something I’m not used to. I’m still working on it. It’s something I’m working on with the team here because it will help me a lot to have a low-post game.”

Kaba, who has a 7-5 wingspan, played last season for Mega Leks in the Adriatic League. In 25 games, he averaged 10.9 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 24.6 minutes. He had a .507 field goal percentage.

Kaba began his career in France and played for Pau-Orthez in the Pro A league in 2014-15.

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