By Eurohoops Team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas’ latest guest is Daniel Hackett. The CSKA Moscow guard discusses his life and career, moving to his current club, his time with Olympiacos including the matches versus Panathinaikos, his serious injury and more.
CSKA Moscow‘s battling backcourt ace joins Joe Arlauckas
Reigning EuroLeague champion Daniel Hackett of CSKA Moscow is Joe Arlauckas’s latest guest on The Crossover. Their conversation dives deep into Hackett’s life, starting with his father’s basketball career, as Daniel walks Joe through the steps that took him from his hometown of Pesaro, Italy, to Los Angeles, California and back, then onward to Greece, Germany and Russia, where he became a key piece of a EuroLeague-championship squad.
Hackett was not heading on the right path as a middle-schooler. His parents divorced when he was 12 and his father, Rudy Hackett, moved back to America. In the meantime, Daniel started hanging out with the wrong crowd and stopped caring about school. However, with his parents’ help, he managed to right the ship in an unconventional way.
“As bad as it looked at the beginning, this gave me an opportunity,” Hackett explained. “My father gave me an opportunity to go back to the States and play high school basketball. My mother was lovely enough to say, ‘Yeah, you have to chase your dream.’ And that’s how I went to L.A.”
Hackett played at high school in Los Angeles and then at the University of Southern California before returning home and signing with Benetton Treviso. He then had stops at Scavolini Pesaro, Montepaschi Siena and AX Armani Exchange Milan before heading abroad again to play for Olympiacos Piraeus in Greece, where he faced his greatest obstacle. In December of 2016, playing a EuroLeague game against UNICS Kazan, Hackett suffered a hamstring tendon rupture and detachment that not only ended his season but for a time threatened to end his career. His rehabilitation after a successful operation also presented Hackett with demons.
“After the surgery, there was a period where I went dark. I couldn’t see the light. It was only pool work. It was only training room. I couldn’t see the ball. I couldn’t see the court. I couldn’t run, I could barely walk. I’m like, this is not gonna get better,” Hackett said. “At that point in my career is when I met depression for the first time.”
The injury cost Hackett seven months and he made his EuroLeague comeback under Coach Andrea Trinchieri at Brose Bamberg. Hackett showed everyone that he had put the injury behind him. At the end of the season, CSKA Moscow came calling and Hackett could not have been happier to join the Russian champs.
“It is a blessing to be here now with this club. Most of it has been about the ride, about the journey,” Hackett said. “We were all leaders, as other guys said. We had 15 leaders on last year’s team. And everybody brought a little piece to the table. That’s how you become champions.”
Hackett also addressed the quality that has made him a fan favorite everywhere he has played.
“I think it’s my fighter mentality, my hustle. The passion that a lot of time I show. That’s my way of playing the game… When I was a kid, my dad used to take me to the playground to play against men, older people and I had to hustle, I had to get beat up. I had to fight. I had to scrap and that carried on. It’s part of my DNA.”
Continuing with the one-hour format of exclusive one-on-one interviews, the second season of The Crossover with Joe Arlauckas goes well beyond the playing court with each podcast to delve into the life experiences that have made his guests protagonists and legends of the EuroLeague. This season, he is also reviewing the EuroLeague’s modern history in its 20th season of this century by talking to the legends who have made the competition more popular than ever.
The Crossover debuted in 2018 with such current stars such as the new All-time EuroLeague scoring leader in a single game Shane Larkin and Vassilis Spanoulis and coaching greats Pablo Laso and Zeljko Obradovic among others. Jaycee Caroll of Real Madrid, Ali Muhammed of Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul and legend Theodoros Papaloukas were Joe’s first guests this season.