By Bilal Baran Yardimci / firstname.lastname@example.org
Cazoo Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz ended the winning streak of Anadolu Efes in the Round 13 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague with an 83-78 win, and another great performance from the sharpshooter Marcus Howard.
The 23-year-old Howard produced 19 points in 25 minutes and was once again the top scorer of his team.
“We knew Anadolu Efes was a very good team, but we did not underestimate ourselves either. We stuck to our game plan and managed to implement it. We played very well both in defense and offense in the second half and that’s how we came back to the game,” Howard said to Eurohoops after the match.
The young player, who transferred from the NBA to the EuroLeague at the beginning of the season, talked about the adaptation process.
“The transition from the USA to Europe is not easy at all. Things do not progress in a straight line, you can experience ups and downs, but my teammates are helping me with this. I’m in my first season in European basketball and I’m still in the process of understanding the game. There are still things I’m trying to figure out. But I’m excited about what the team can do.”
Howerd is proud of being compared to Efes‘ star Shane Larkin, who didn’t play against Baskonia due to an injury. Like Howard, Larkin’s first stop in Europe is Baskonia and there’s the sense that Howard can follow his steps.
“It’s an honor to be compared to a successful player like Shane Larkin. He is a player I’ve heard a lot about and watched many times. As I said, it is an honor to have my name associated with such great players. Stars like Shane Larkin and Mike James have similar playstyles to me. They are playing very effectively in Europe and I hope to reach that level.”
Howard also noted that the most important thing for him is to stay firmly on the ground.
“I am trying to progress day by day. It’s a completely different basketball in Europe, but I’m trying to learn everything I can and I’m trying to adapt as much as I can. I want to continue my current aggressive basketball. The most important thing for me in this process was not to rise too high and not to fall too low,” Marcus Howard added.
The biggest question is, does he see Europe as a stepping stone to return to the NBA, or he intends to stay there permanently?
“I am not thinking about the future yet. Coming from America to Europe is a huge change for me. So my entire focus is on getting better every day. What happens in the future is not in my control. I’m trying not to focus on long-term issues right now.”
Lastly, Markus Howard talked about the passionate fan base in Europe, the packed halls, and the amazing atmosphere created in every match.
“The atmosphere here is incredible, like no other. You can’t compare it with anything else. We still have many teams and cities to play with even more crazy fans. I enjoy playing basketball in front of such crazy crowds. As a basketball player, you live for these. It is going to be fun”.