Feeling good in Krasnodar

So far, it has been a good season for me. It was my goal to be able to compete well in the Euroleague and help Lokomotiv Kuban get many wins and reach as high as possible in the competition. I had these two goals, individually and as a team, which are being achieved so far. I am happy, that is for sure. I had a very good game against Fenerbahce last week, but I wish we could have won the game, which is what matters in the end. It was an important game against probably the best team in the Euroleague right now, on the road. We played really well for the better part of the game, but could not come back home with the win. You live and learn, of course. We have to analyze our mistakes in the fourth quarter to avoid them in the future. Of course, Fenerbahce is a great team and they played at home, but we have to be fully aware to learn from our mistake to be an even better team.
Before that, we had beaten Anadolu Efes at home and that happened the other way around. Efes led for the best part of that game, but we rallied and won it. We showed a lot of character in that game. The good thing about this team is that no matter the situation or the opponent, we always believe that we can win any game. We were down but never thought that we had run out of chances to win. We managed to fight for rebounds and loose balls to balance the game and win it down the stretch. We played really well.

I am very happy in Krasnodar. I spoke to Coach Bartzokas last summer and he convinced me to come over here. I played for Khimki for a few months last season and had the chance to play against Lokomotiv. That allowed me to know the team a little bit and that was a plus for me. I am happy with the role I have in my team. Coach gave me confidence since the first day I got here and I am trying to make the most out of it. I love our playing style, everyone feels important on our team. We move the ball well and everyone has options to contribute. Playing at the power forward position, I have the ball in my hands a lot during the game and that helps us take good decisions. If you put it all together, that is what has allowed me to play well this season.

Obviously, Malcolm Delaney is one of the best players on a team that is actually doing well. He was the Euroleague MVP for October and got two weekly MVPs in three Top 16 games until now. When the game is on the line, the ball is in his hands to make things happen, whether is scoring or finding an open teammate. It is great to have a teammate like that because you know you can trust him. He is very comfortable with his role as our team’s leader. Off the court, he is also a leader. People trust him on and off the court. He loves social networks, too. One day I told him he should have his own reality show because on Twitter he tells about everything that happens to him. It would be a good idea. It would be successful! He loves basketball shoes, too. He changes them often and likes to play with new shoes. That gives him a lot of material to upload on social networks, too.

Krasnodar is a great place to play basketball. The club is really well organized and now that the team is in the Euroleague, they are making sure they do everything in their hands to bring our fans closer to the team. We try to make a lot of noise in Krasnodar: you see a lot of posters around town and information on social networks. The club makes a lot of great videos and tries to put them out there for fans. I strongly recommend our YouTube channel: game recaps, social interaction, funny videos… They make sure that our fans are in touch with us, the players. I find it a lot of fun. I love it!

Being Spanish, I get asked a lot about the weather. Well, the weather is good here in Krasnodar. It snowed on New Year’s Eve, all night long, but it disappeared already. We get worse weather when we travel around. We went to Moscow last weekend and it was snowing, and we’re visited some other cold places during the season. I have to say, though, that I missed the game in Krasnoyarsk, in Siberia!

We didn’t set any goals at the beginning of the season, but it is obvious that playing in the Euroleague and doing well is a challenge for the team. I believe that we are working in the right direction and are able to compete against any team. If we keep working hard, we will have chances to reach really far. Still, we are only focused on the next game, this week against Panathinaikos. We beat them twice earlier this season, so both teams know each other well. We beat them in our first Euroleague game this season, at home, and then had to rally to beat them in Athens. We know it is a team with a lot of experienced players who will be ready to do better this time around. We expect a different game, but I hope we can do well and get our third win.

Talk to you soon, Euroleague fans! Vamos Loko!
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