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  J.P. Batista interview
Posted by: talkbasket - 12-24-2006, 10:31 PM - Forum: Other Pan-European competitions - Replies (1)

From ULEBCup.com:

[Image: 7dd1e5a9-6d1e-44ba-805c-0858188b732f.jpg] [Image: 7dd1e5a9-6d1e-44ba-805c-0858188b732f.jpg]

First, congratulations on a great win against Nancy. L. Rytas is one of three Group A teams, along with AEK and Brose Baskets, who played in the Euroleague last season. How do you find the competition so far?

"So far, the competition is going great. All the teams we have faced are pretty tough, especially on the road. Hemofarm, Nancy... everybody. This is a really strong group. Every night is going to be a hard game. The one who plays better defense and whoever works harder will come up with the win."

Winning Group A would give L. Rytas the chance to play the second game at home in each of the elimination rounds. Knowing how L. Rytas fans support their team, is holding first place the major goal now?

"Of course. We enter every competition with the purpose of winning, and I think every team who wants to reach high enters it with the same goal. As for us, we are in a great position, so we better take advantage of that. That would give us the chance to play every second game at home and like you said, our fans are very supportive in here. We are looking forward for that."

Last season, you were with Gonzaga University in the NCAA and now you're on one of the fastest rising clubs in Europe in basketball-mad country. How does the change of scenery feel now?

"Playing for Lietuvos Rytas is a great opportunity for me, I am really grateful for having the chance to play for this team. A lot of people don't really know about what it means to play in Lithuania, but I have always followed international basketball and I had an idea about how big basketball is in here. The competition is great, too, it is a great first step for me in my professional career. I am so glad that I am playing for L. Rytas, and I am looking forward for the future."

You are still pretty unknown for most European basketball fans, since you just landed in our continent. How would you describe yourself as a player and how did you start to play basketball?

"I describe myself as a physical power forward. I like it to play inside, be tough, do all the dirty work. I try to do all the little things, get the job done, whatever needs to be done to make my team win. I started to play basketball when I was 10 or 11. My brother introduced me to basketball, as everybody in Brazil plays soccer. I was really lucky to have good coaches back then to teach me the fundamentals. At the same time I was playing high school and amateur basketball in Brazil. Having the opportunity to play college basketball in the United States was great for me, as it turned me into a better basketball player."

Since legendary scorers Oscar Schmidt and Marcel de Souza opened the way in the mid-1980s, many Brazilian players have come to Europe, including current Eurolegue players like Tiago Splitter, Marcelinho Huertas and Marcelinho Machado. How important is European basketball to Brazilian players?

"It is a perfect environment for us, because other than the NBA, European basketball has the best basketball level in the world. It is great, because at the same time we are opening the door for other Brazilian players to come here in the future. So far I have been having a great experience and this is just the start. Overall, it is a great opportunity not only for me, but for the exposure of Brazilian basketball."

You and Machado are the first Brazilians to play in Lithuania. What does that coincidence say about the global nature of basketball now?

"I only met Marcelo a couple of times and he is a great guy. The world is really becoming small, as he had played in Europe before but was back in Brazil, while I was playing in the United States. Right now we are playing against each other for the biggest rivals in Lithuania. It really shows how basketball has gone global."

In recent years, L. Rytas has won the ULEB Cup, domestic titles and reached the Euroleague Top 16. Does fans being used to L. Rytas lifting trophies every season add extra pressure on the team?

"I think so. When you have a winning environment, sometimes people expect so much about you that if you lose, they may wonder what is going on. This is part of the job. I have been in winning programs like Gonzaga and here it's the same. Pressure is part of the game, you just have to be able to take it and handle it like professionals."

L. Rytas is one of the competition's deepest teams, with everyone contributing and no one averaging more than 26 minutes. If things stay the same, and everyone is fresh going into the elimination rounds, will that be a majore advantage for L. Rytas?

"Definitely. For example, last week when we played Nancy, only six players scored for them, and that paid off during the game. Our team is really deep and that is an advantage. Roberts (Stelmahers) got injured last night but we still had good players coming off the bench and they handled the job well to win the game. In several situations, Matt Nielsen and Marijonas Petravicius were hurt, but we had a deep bench and we were able to keep winning. There are many games left and more players could get hurt but we have a deep bench and good players in every position, so that makes us dangerous, makes us even better."

What do you think about the ULEB Cup in terms of organization and how far can Lietuvos L. Rytas go in the competition?

"I think that the ULEB Cup is a great competition. Like you said, our regular season group has strong teams. I had the chance to take a look at other teams from other groups and there are big teams everywhere. So far it has been a great experience, a competition at a great level. As far as how far we can go, I think we only have to worry about our near future. We have to work hard in every game and do our best every night."

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  Your opinion?
Posted by: Saint Luke - 12-18-2006, 09:42 PM - Forum: NBA - Replies (2)

Well, you do you lot think it was, I'll leave you to decide this <img src='http://www.talkbasket.net/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Smile' /> <img src='http://www.talkbasket.net/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/thup.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt=':thup:' />

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  Final Four
Posted by: Panathinaikos1908 - 12-03-2006, 11:31 AM - Forum: EUROLEAGUE - Replies (7)

For me of course is Panathinaikos.We have a great team this year and until now we have a 17-1 at Euroleague.The last time we have done something like this we won it.

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  Panathinaikos
Posted by: Panathinaikos1908 - 12-03-2006, 11:25 AM - Forum: GREECE - Replies (14)

Nothing much to say about this team. Won three time the Euroleague. Sent many players to NBA the best team in the newest basketball history of Greece. Probably on of the finalist of final four this year. He plays at OAKA almost 18.000 seats and last season made three in a row sold out. Some players..



[Image: paoqx7.png]

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  1999 Euroleague Final Zalgiris vs Kinder
Posted by: talkbasket - 12-01-2006, 09:31 PM - Forum: Basketball Videos - Replies (1)

Good old memories. The first time (and only so far) that Zalgiris won Euroleague.



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