By Fersu Yahyabeyoğlu/ Fersu@eurohoops.net
In recent years the versatile power forwards have started to dominate the European basketball and one of them, Andrey Vorontsevich of CSKA Moscow, who is having a break out season, talked to Eurohoops just before the announcement of Kirilenko’s return.
Despite the presence of the Russian superstar, Vorontsevich is a key part of the team and he is ready for more, as his team prepares for the clush against Fenebahce/ Ulker.
-We have seen you a cool and calm guy on the court so how can you describe yourself out of court?
“Maybe it is looks like I am calm but inside I am sometimes mad and emotional. Definitely I try to keep it cool and I learn to behave well from year to year. But sometimes there are some moments when it’s really difficult to collect myself.”
– What are your hobbies?
“I play videogames, World Of Tanks for example. I try to read the books as much as I can. I like Bernard Werber books, now I am reading his The Laughter of the Cyclops. I like poetry too – by Marina Tsvetaeva, Alexander Blok.”
– How did you start to play basketball? Are there any family members also related with basketball?
“Yes, my father and older brother played basketball, my father brought me to basketball school when I was 6. And it all started.”
– We have known you as a member of the army team since 2006-007 season. But up to this season you were always considered as a talented bench player. However after the injury of Khryapa in the beginning of the season you became one of the most important pieces of the team. We can say that this is your career season. What are the main factors that make you perform that well?
“I would say that at least in three previous seasons I was on the floor in the end of the season, when it really mattered. I started, we played together with Victor in many games, won titles, played in the Final Fours. So I don’t think Victor’s injury influenced my game. It’s more about coach’s trust and my teammates trust this season which is together with my motivation allows me to play better.”
– Sometimes you need to play as a center and you create really big matchup problems to your opponents but on the other hand sometimes you should battle with the “real” big guys. Do you like this system?
” Yes, I like the system, I like when we can switch on defense without having big mismatches. It lets us play faster and I think it is better when you can switch, especially in the end of possession when you try to deny the passes to your man, whether it happens on the perimeter or down in the paint. ”
– Who is your best friend/friends in the team?
“Everyone. Can’t single out somebody. We have really good relationship inside the team and I consider everyone on CSKA roster a friend.”
– Which teams are Final Four candidates, of course except CSKA?
” Euroleague level is really high, any team – from Turkey, Spain or Russia is a contender. We have to wait for playoffs to start to make some predictions.”
– You have worked with most of the big coaches in European basketball like Vujosevic, Messina and Kazlauskas but you shined with Itoudis, one of the talented new generation coaches. What are the differences between Messina and Itoudis’ philosophy and how is your relationship with coach Itoudis?
“We have a professional relationship, I feel motivation and concentration which the coach wants me to bring to every game. With his energy coach Itoudis gives us all confidence. I don’t like to compare the game philosophy. Still if you want any parallels, both coaches ask for defense to be team’s priority.”
– After a great winning streak in both VTB and Euroleague you lost 3 times in a row. You react at Milano and you are still the biggest contender for the Euroleague championship. So what are the strong and weak sides of CSKA according to your opinion?
“Depending on the game, sometimes we play really well, sometimes we make mistakes. This season we have some problems with defensive rebounding. Still we are capable to do everything, we have huge potential and talent, we have to lessen the number of mistakes and use our strength. Now it is obvious that we have dangerous offense: when we move the ball well, play as a team it is really difficult to stop us.”
– In the beginning of the second round of Top 16 you will face with Fenerbahçe Ülker and we will see a great battle between two of the best power forwards in Europe now, Vorontsevich vs N.Bjelica. What you can say about this clash?
” Nemanja is a very talented player, but it is not about personal clash. We will have the fight of two strong teams. I have deep respect to Nemanja, to everyone on Fener’s roster, to opponents’ coach and I am pretty sure they respect us too. We should expect a tough fight. You remember our game in Istanbul, we will try to learn from mistakes we made there and play better.”