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Derrick Brown: “I want to be called a winner”

By Lefteris Moutis/

If Albert Einstein’s quote (“the measure of intelligence is the ability to change”) is right, Derrick Brown should be really smart! The American forward of Lokomotiv was until the summer of 2012 an NBA prospect who was doing better and better. He started his career in Charlotte, played a little in New York and then returned in Chralotte believing that Bobcats could be his port. However after his best NBA season, 2011-12, Brown left Charlotte, Spurs offered him a contract, but finally he didn’t make the team’s final roster.

Derrick Brown didn’t abandon his effort. He travelled overseas and signed with Lokomotiv Kuban, an relatively unknown until then Russian team. He impressed everyone being a modern type of forward and he continued to be the leader of his team in the Euroleague. Before the start of the Top 16, the 26-year-old American old talked to Eurohoops about the new challenge in his career and the upcoming battle against CSKA Moscow.

-How easy was for you the decision to leave USA and sign with a Russian team which hadn’t until then any great tradition in European basketball?

“The decision for me to leave USA and sign with a Russian team which hadn’t had any great tradition was very difficult. It was difficult to leave the States in the first place but I knew that it was going to be a great life lesson to be around different culture and grow as a basketball player as well. It didn’t matter if it would have been a small team in Europe or a traditional powerhouse team in Europe at the time. It was a difficult decision in general”.

-Your adaptation was quick and quite easy. How that happened? Was it easier because of the other Americans in the roster?

“I adapted to the European life and game of basketball pretty quick because I was open to change. You can’t try to bring the American style game to Europe otherwise you will have a very difficult time adjusting. If you embrace where you are and buy in to the system that they are teaching than you have a better chance of being successful. Also my teammates made my adjusting so much easier. Guys like Alex Maric, Richard Hendrix, Nick Calathes, Jimmy Barron, Mantas Kalnietis, Simas Jasaitis were all familiar with European life and helped me get adjusted fast which I am thankful for”.

-A lot of American players hesitate to travel overseas and play in Europe. You did it and you have already two great seasons. After this experience, would you like to return to the NBA?

“I am concerned about winning the next game. If you start thinking about what you will do in the future you will lose focus of what is in front of you now. I am enjoying this experience here in Russia now and I know it has made me a better player. I don’t know what the future holds for me and I am ok not knowing”.

-San Antonio Spurs were the last team you signed before mocing to Europe. Do you think that after your experience in Lokomotiv, you are more familiar with their “style”, the European one?

“I think I am more familiar with just the game of basketball in general. I have now a mix of both the American style game and the European style game which has only made me a better basketball player”.

-European basketball moves forward and the last years comes closer to the NBA emphasizing more to the athletism. Do you think that playing next to Richard Hendrix, you create the best American front line duo in  Europe?

“Me and Richard do play well together. I play well also with Alex Maric. They both understand how to play in high level which helps us on a nightly basis. If you notice the key to our teams success is how unselfish we all are. Any given night a person can be the best player on the court. We all realize that if we win as a team we will all get the things we want individually. Me and Richard play well together but we don’t really get caught up in what labeling ourselves as the best American duo. The only label that I know I want to be called is a winner”.

-After all, do you prefer to play in a team like CSKA which is a legendary team in Europe or would you like to be member of an NBA team?

“I like basketball in general. Every situation changes year by year so that is a difficult question to answer”.

-CSKA Moscow is your greatest rival in VTB League and in the same time you have to face them in the first game of the Top 16. Do you think that this game will be a rehearsal for the upcoming games in the playoffs?

“We as a club have high goals to advance out of the Top 16. CSKA happens to be in our group. I think regardless of who our matchup is. We want to come out and win games so we can achieve those goals that we have. Match ups are more exciting for the fans and the media but when you are a player every game matters, regardless of who is the opponent”.

-Lokomotiv is an inexperienced team in the higher level of European basketball but in your first season you won the Eurocup, were VTB finalists and now you qualified in the Euroleague’s Top 16. Where is your limit?

“According to other peoples opinion we are not a traditional European powerhouse but we have guys on our team who have played high level basketball. We only worry about Lokomotiv and are not concerned with people calling us a big team or small team. Our goals are high for the club and we will continue to try to achieve those goals”.

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