By Aris Barkas/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle O’Quinn is one of the most familiar EuroLeague names to the US audience. To be exact, he is practically still adapting to Europe, after signing with Fenerbahce at the end of January. And to be honest, it didn’t take him a lot of time in order to become one of the key members of the Turkish club.
After all, he did score 25 points against Buyukcekmece for the Turkish BSL and he has to do even more since Jan Vesely is injured and the former Sixer has to step up and cover his absence in the most crucial time of the year, the EuroLeague playoffs.
Thankfully, O’Quinn is ready, and most importantly, as he explained after his 25-point performance, he got a fresh cut.
Kyle O’Quinn after his career-high: “I got a fresh cut, that’s what really got me going”
— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) March 21, 2021
Eurohoops met with O’Quinn in Athens, Greece, during Fenerbahce‘s visit for the game against Olympiacos and talked about the infamous cut, his game, Fenerbahce, Igor Kokoskov and not experiencing due to COVID the madness of European fans.
Can you elaborate on the power of the fresh-cut?
“It was a joke! I didn’t have a hair cur for a long time and my friend/barber came from the States, he came from New York and he gave me a haircut. It was a funny way to top a good game which we all had as a unit. A good win”.
Did Fenerbahce use your barber for the rest of the team?
“No, they didn’t. We just chilled at the house and I enjoyed the haircut myself”.
Most reaction to your viral moment came from your former Sixers teammates on Twitter. How do you explain this?
“That group was special because we were together in the bubble. Also I never really go too long without a haircut, so they knew how important that was and… I mean, it’s just jokes! Social media make things look funny. You guys caught it and that put us together”.
Did you expect the 25-point game since you arrived in Europe?
“You expect that kind of a performance every night. Sometimes it doesn’t go your way, either you don’t get minutes, or the ball just doesn’t go in, but you go out there to play your best. That night the minutes were in my favor, the team was rolling and some things just happen”.
What are your impressions so far from the game in Europe?
“It’s very physical, very smart players, smarter than the players you usually play because they have to do things strategically. The game is much faster, because the game is shorter, every possession matters, but the physical level is very high and it surprised me a little bit”.
Is the game is moving towards the NBA?
“The game is definitely getting more and more the same. Simply because this is the second-best league in the world and the second best has to be close to the best league. I think that there are some similarities but at the same time, those are two different games. You can showcase your talents in two different ways. You just have to see if it works for you and go from there, but the game is definitely close to the NBA”.
You were surprised by the rumors on the NY Post about the Knicks‘ interest in you?
“It’s always surprising when you see news that you don’t know about, rumors and stuff. I always say nothing is real until it happens and I was always happy and grateful for being in Fenerbahce so I didn’t place myself mentally anywhere else”.
What do you think of your new coach, Igor Kokoskov?
“The coach is great, he is positive. He is an NBA-style coach. He is very likable. That’s the biggest thing. Some time coaches you can look at them and say “coach this, coach that…” but he is not that way. He is very positive, he is always pushing, he is always motivating. Even when he is getting on, you know it’s coming from a good place. I think that he helped me a lot with the transition. And there’s not even a language barrier. Even if English is not his first language, he is good enough for me to feel like I am home. I think I am very, very lucky and fortunate to have him as my first European coach”.
Do you feel unlucky because of COVID and not having the experience of a full gym in Istanbul?
“I don’t know how it feels to play in a full gym in Europe. This is what I know so far. I have seen videos, I have seen pictures, but at the same time this is what I have to get comfortable with and this is what I am growing to know as regular. When it comes that would be new to me too. When the fans come and everything returns back to normal, I will have to get adjusted to that. But right now I am dealing what I am dealing with”.
Is it a motivation to stay and play in front of European fans next season?
“People have said that before, so we have to wait and see”.