By Antonis Stroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
From being compared with Jaycee Carroll to Panathinaikos, the discussion with Kyle Guy stretched into the NBA and athletes dealing with mental health issues.
Guy, 26, talked to Eurohoops about former player Carroll before diving into the Greens aiming to add a seventh Turkish Airlines EuroLeague championship to the extensive list of team achievements, his experience in the NBA, and overcoming anxiety.
“I think it is a good comparison,” he replied on the two-time EuroLeague champion with Real Madrid, “He can shoot the crap out of it. A really good player. Tough and gritty, and I like that. I like to think that I am a little bit more of an all-around player. I like getting assists. I like getting dirty on defense, taking charges, and doing whatever it takes to help the team win. I can put the ball on the floor too. Not that he can’t do those things but I think he was more of a specialized straight-up shooter. I know I can shoot it and that is what I do best, but I think I can do more.”
“I would say probably my passing,” said Guy on which part of his game tends to get overlooked, “I feel like I am a high IQ player and I understand that whenever I have the ball the defense is very focused on me, which means my teammates are open. I feel like I’ve kind of have a rapport with [Mathias] Lessort and Olek [Balcerowski] just being able to short-roll passes and alley-oop.”
The seventh star
The Greens are six-time winners of Europe’s top-tier club continental competition. Behind an improved squad for the 2023-24 season, a brilliant match with the former Virginia standout in his second European campaign.
“I love winning. That is what I am about. I don’t care if I score one point or 100 points in a game. I just want to win,” Guy explained to Eurohoops, “We have a really good opportunity for that here with Panathinaikos.”
Shifting from a leading role with Joventut Badalona to a more balanced role with the Greek club is a requirement.
“I think that is where being an all-around player comes into play. Some games, it is not going to be my night. Luca [Vildoza] is going to be killing Juancho [Hernangomez] or Kostas [Sloukas] or whoever. I need to learn to adapt,” he noted.
“I still got to shoot when I am open,” he added, “Me being on the court is a threat because they are not going to help off of me. So, whatever it takes to win. Maybe that will be my day where I am just playing defense and running corner to corner. That is fine as long as we are winning.”
“I just like winning. If we can get the seventh star, I think that is what we are here to do. Win the Greek league as well. Everything we play, we want to win. That’s what we are about,” Guy painted the picture of the team aspirations.
“Ask the NBA or the general managers”
“You are going to have to ask the NBA or the general managers,” he replied to a question about not making the roster cut for the NBA last season, “I know that I did everything right or that I could do to make a team. Anytime I played more than five minutes, it was usually a good outing.”
“That is part of why I came overseas last year. I felt comfortable that I knew I could play in the NBA. I have done it. I have shown it. I have scored 17 multiple times. I did my part and it didn’t catch, it didn’t take. That’s fine. I am going to come over here,” he continued, “I just want to play and win.”
“I think everyone’s goal is to play in the best league you can, which is the NBA,” said Guy, “I am super secure in the fact that I proved to myself, that I can. If they don’t want me, that is their problem. I am very content. I love traveling the world playing basketball, and getting paid to do it. So, that is why I am here.”
The Panathinaikos player has been open about dealing with anxiety issues during his career.
“Understanding everyone goes through it in different levels, some are minor and some are major, and I have been on both ends of the spectrum,” he confirmed, “I think putting a name to it kind of takes away the power. You start to figure out what works for you. For some people, it is therapy, for some people it is listening to music, for some people it is attacking it head-on. Whatever it is to get you through that. You start to figure that out as you get older. I am always in pressure situations and playing basketball. I am sure I will be in a lot this year playing in front of these fans and this league. So, I think, as you said, constantly putting myself in these situations and putting a name to it is kind of what’s helped me get over it.”
Recalling the 2018 NCAA tournament with top-seeded Virginia being upset by UMBC in the first round, Guy noted mental benefits from the troubling situation.
“There was a bunch of death threats after we lost in my sophomore year in the tournament,” he mentioned, “Going through that toughened me up. I was in a dark place for a couple of weeks. Then I found my groove. Just like anything. You go through a breakup. Time heals all. As you grow up and mature, you figure it out.”
“He is a great dude,” he replied to a question about Ricky Rubio taking a break from professional basketball to address his mental health, “For him to be able to understand that he needs a break, I am all for that. I am huge in ‘do what works for you’, if you need to take a break, take a break. If you don’t, don’t. Everyone is different.”