Even at 31-years-old, Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv’s Devin Smith is playing the best basketball ever right now and it’s rubbing off on the current Euroleague champions as they enter the Top 16 having won five of their last six games.
The Israeli powerhouses begin their Top 16 campaign away in Athens as they face Panathinaikos on December 30. If Maccabi show enough confidence in their own ability, then Smith believes that Maccabi are well on their way to a place in the Euroleague quarter-finals.
“It will be very difficult,” Smith said. “At this stage of the competition, every team is very, very competitive, a high-level team. It is going to be an every game process.
“With the new format, you are able to correct some mistakes, but it is better not to make those mistakes. It is always going to important for us to be consistent. We always have confidence in our ability no matter what.”
And Smith certainly has confidence in his own ability. The veteran is currently averaging career-highs in points [16.8], rebounds [7.1] and assists [2.7], and he has been rewarded with December’s Euroleague MVP award.
“At this point, I am really confident in what I bring to this team,” Smith admitted. “They did a really good job of helping me succeed over my years here. I feel like I’ve grown as a player and as a person. And that makes it a lot easier.”
Smith was one of the driving forces behind Maccabi Electra’s Euroleague triumph last season, the veteran only averaged 9.9 points a game but shot a steady 57 percent from the field.
“At this point, I am really confident in what I bring to this team. They did a really good job of helping me succeed over my years here. I feel like I’ve grown as a player and as a person. And that makes it a lot easier.” –-Devin Smith
This season, he is averaging career highs and believes that along with his form and Maccabi’s successful tradition – they can reach the pinnacle of European club basketball again.
“You know, I think it is a thing of staying together as a team and as a group,” Smith explained. “If we do that, you can win any game, anywhere. With the history of Maccabi, you always have that winning and that fighting spirit.
“I feel like you have to adopt that into your thoughts. That is what carried us in the past and that is what will carry us in the future.”
Quotes from Euroleague.net