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Despite controversy, Terrell Stoglin has always been at peace with himself

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Stoglin: People thanked me for speaking out on J. Cole at BAL (1:44)

AS Sale's Terrell Stoglin reveals the reaction he got for criticising J. Cole's participation in BAL. (1:44)

Terrell Stoglin, who will again be playing for AS Sale in the Basketball Africa League, is philosophical when looking back on his basketball career so far, saying he has never been anything other than at peace with himself.

Stoglin, who was the first player to score 40 points in the BAL, will return to the tournament with the Moroccan side, though is perhaps most well-known for his critical comments on rapper J. Cole's presence at the BAL last year.

The former Maryland player then told ESPN that Cole, who was a late sign up for Rwanda's Patriots, was taking up a roster spot from a more deserving player, and that his presence on the court was an insult to the players who had worked hard for years to make the team.

The backlash on social media was swift and high-profile, but Stoglin, no stranger to controversies over his career, says he never wavered in his words: "[Me being calm despite criticism] was the thing my family couldn't understand.

"I have a lot of cousins that are back in the States and they didn't like what they were reading. They were very upset [over the backlash].

"To be honest with you, after I did the interview with you, I didn't pay attention to anything because I know the world that I live in. A true leader, a true person that stands for something, knows their environment."

READ: ESPN's guide to the BAL 2022

At 30 years old, Stoglin has endured his fair share of controversy throughout his career. At the University of Maryland, his relationship with coach Mark Turgeon was strained at times and Stoglin left under bizarre circumstances, with reports suggesting he was suspended for marijuana use and the guard insisting that was not the case.

In the ensuing years, he had an infamous on-court tirade in Venezuela, and more recently, problems at Zamalek, where he had a frosty relationship with club president Mortada Mansour.

Stoglin, however, says he has maintained serenity throughout his troubles, even if it may not have always looked like it to the outside world.

"A man is not a man unless he stands for something. I don't care about your profession; I don't care about your title. If you stand for something that's right, it doesn't matter [what] your situation [is]. You don't change," he said.

"You don't go with the wind or move with society or people who say [something] is ok when you know it's wrong. You don't go with them just to get a pay cheque. You stand for something like Muhammad Ali did, Jesus did, Yeshua did.

"I've been this way my whole life. It doesn't matter if you put a basketball in my hand and tell me to go play for the top team in the country or the NBA. I'm a man first, so what's right is right. Truth is truth - it's universal. I feel like that's who I've been over this time and it won't change."

And being true to himself is what has kept him at AS Sale, despite what he says have been many offers to move to other teams in the BAL.

He explained: "Just being discreet about it, the majority of the teams in the BAL had given me an offer. It's just loyalty. This team brought me in. Why not finish with them? These are my young guys and I really want to create something good.

"This [Salé] used to be a powerhouse. They've been going through a lot over the last couple of years and I take pride in staying with the programme and building them up to where they need to be.

"This year, from what I've seen, [the organisation] has been more professional [off the court] and there's more tunnel-vision towards the goal. If it wasn't that way, I wouldn't be here."

Salé will compete in the Sahara Conference in Dakar from March 5-15, alongside DUC Dakar (Senegal), SLAC (Guinea), REG (Rwanda), US Monastir (Tunisia) and CFV-Beira (Mozambique).

A top four finish would secure their place in the playoffs, therefore granting Stoglin and co. a second shot at BAL glory in Kigali in May.