Great resume. Few Spanish players have the record of the Levantine: silver and bronze in some Games, three golds and a bronze in the Eurobasket, and a World Cup
There are just a few days to go before the ACB is rolling. As an aperitif, the Super Cup comes this weekend with a Barcelona-Baskonia, the repetition of the final of the atypical last season. The Valencian forward Víctor Claver, who played in the NBA for three years and in the Russian League for one, faces his fourth season in the Culé team and will do so under the command of a new coach, the legendary base ‘Saras’ Jasikevicius.
The first signs of identity of this new project are being a high rate of ball circulation and that it is playing with two bases simultaneously. Are these the first changes that ‘Saras’ brings or is it too early to assess it?
He wants the ball to move at a high pace and not get stuck in the hand of a stationary player. We have the ball to look for options and we are also aware that there is quality in the team to score. Everyone can score, but the idea is that it is in options that give play and that are not forced.
The best thing about this new project is that it only has one signing so far, Nick Calathes, so the team knows each other quite well even though they have new game systems.
The truth is that there are not many new faces, although there are young people who have come to help us in this preseason. We knew them, but they had not yet been in the dynamics of the first team and they are contributing a lot. And we must highlight the arrival of Nick, who is a great player, who reads the game very well and from the first day is very adapted to everyone.
It’s pure talent and it seems like he’s been here his whole life.
Yes. Without a doubt. In addition, on a personal level, he is integrating very well and the concentration that we have had in Encamp has also helped us to make the dynamics of the whole team positive, and those of us who have been here for the longest to help him feel at home.
After the departure of Svetislav Pesic, how do you assess the arrival of Jasikevicius so much desired by everyone?
It’s something that everyone wanted. The arrival of fresh air has been noticed. He is a coach who was a player and understands his players very well. So far he has not done anything strange and that will help us better understand his way of being and also his way of understanding his basketball.
With Pesic he got on quite well and he managed to find his best version.
He already knew Pesic from spending a season with him in Valencia. He always understood me and I adapted well to what he asked of me. I have been very comfortable with him these years; but hey, these stages always end and I have to face a new one.
The preseason games have started without an audience. We will have to get used to it, all as it happened in Valencia. Will it be an unusual and strange season for the pandemic?
Yes, definitely. It is a strange situation in the whole world and for us, of course, too. Although we play without an audience, we have to be aware that we are lucky to be able to compete and at least some things run their course. Let’s hope that during the season we will not have to stop or have setbacks and that little by little it will return to normal.
How does a professional player manage to focus and think only about what happens on the court with an empty hall?
More than anything we play for our people, for our fans, and for the jersey that we represent, but that gives us an extra and it is clear that it is something that we miss. Once we go out to play we try to give 100 percent.
How do you think the rivals have strengthened?
In the Endesa League, obviously, the teams have strengthened well. It is still the best league in Europe. As for the Euroleague, the squads are very long and there are players who have been important in the NBA.