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Looking back at the season and what’s ahead

I took a few vacations, now I’m back into grind mode. I want to continue having success in europe and only way is to work harder every year.

Prior to this past season you were coming off of a great year in Ukraine. What led you to decide on signing with a Bundesliga club? 

Bayern was a good chance for me to go and play for a team that was up and coming, and also a club where I didn’t have to worry about anything other than playing basketball. Coming fromUkraine that was a big factor with dealing with distractions around the club other than basketball.

Looking back at that decision and how much you’ve accomplished during the season do you feel it was the best decision?

I think that was a great and very important decision for me, and I would do it all over again if I had to. I don’t regret anything about playing in Germany, I learned a lot.

You’ve won Season MVP award, German championship and Finals MVP trophy. We know that personal achievements aren’t your top priority. Judging by how good your team did, how did it feel to be recognized as such a great leader?

It didn’t feel as good until we won the championship but to me, being able to lead a great team through a tough season with all of the adversity we had, made me appreciate the awards a lot more.

If you could point out the best achievement and the biggest dissapointment of this season, what would it be?

The best achievement was winning the BBL title because of what it meant to bring one to the club and city of Munich, and biggest disappointment was definitely not making the playoffs in Euroleague.

Which game of the finals would you select as the one that had the biggest impact on the competition and let you go all the way?

The game we had to replay in the first round vs Ludwigsburg was the game that won us the championship in my opinion. Oldenburg was our biggest challenge but that game put a chip on our shoulder that we carried throughout the remainder of the playoffs.

During the season we could see a lot of your pictures (on Instagram) during soccer games, eating out etc. How did the whole city of Munich impact your year and what will you remember the most outside of basketball?

Munich was a great city and even though I didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I would have liked, I enjoyed the things I got to do. I only attended one soccer game, and definitely wish we had opportunities to see more.

How did your family and friends welcome you in the States after such a great year?

My family and friends were proud of me just like every year when I returned because they know how hard I work and how hard it is to be away for as long as I am alone. I was gone for 10 1/2 months last yr really with no break, so they knew it was tough.

After such an incredible year with a Euroleague competition, multiple awards and Bundesliga Championship, you’ve decided to sign with Lokomotiv Kuban. What led you to this decision?

My decision to go to LOKOMOTIV was based on the fact that I set a standard and goals for myself that were very achievable, and they were on the same page with me and my goals. They came after me very seriously and after speaking with the coach, club, and players that assured me this was a great club to play for. I had no doubt that this was the place for me. At the end of the day I’m playing to better my future and help my family and if I’m not in the NBA I will do everything in my power to make sure my family and I are comfortable. The decision wasn’t hard because a few other teams I expected to make moves didn’t and I’m not going to play for anybody who thinks less of me or doesn’t appreciate my value.

Didn’t you feel like you’ve wanted to pursue the great Euroleague pressence more based on this past season? Do you think Lokomotiv can win the Eurocup/VTB competition?

To me it’s great to do Euroleague but that’s more important to Europeans, just like the NBA is more important to Americans. I’m a single 25 yr old that has to leave my family for years at a time so the name of a competion means nothing to me. I will get better every year to work towards the goals I set for myself, and my career success will be determined on the goals I achieved that I set for myself. I never been caught up into what other people think because they won’t determine my happiness or feed my family and I understand the business.

When are you leaving for Russia?

Not finalized yet but most likely, late August.

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