"Planet" pumps up the muscles
Few years ago, it was hard to imagine that foreign athletes will play in Komi teams. But to the beginning of the season Syktyvkar "New Generation" acquired three Portuguese players. But by the fall Ukhta basketball club "Planeta-University" was increased by two American Legionnaires that actually was a great surprise for a provincial city. Our correspondents tried to find out just how plans and ambitions Ukhta club are realistic.
The nationality is player
We spoke to the players in the gym of Ukhta sports complex "Burevestnik." Here the head coach Alexander Gutorov presented new CEO of the Club Sergei Anokhin. The fact that Ukhta team found promising players from the ocean is the direct contribution of Sergei Anokhin. Note that S. Anohin is a serious basketball expert with experience in Professional Basketball Club CSKA. The last three years he spent working in the United States in a large sports company that recruits athletes and their conduct in the clubs. It is through this experience, the new director of "The Planet" was able to attract the Americans to the club.
- Unfortunately, I was accepted into the "Planet" before the season, and I was not able to hold the team exactly to the selection, which I would like - told S. Anohin.
- Now we align this situation. We acquired four players, including the Americans. 22-year-old James Ellisor (defender, his growth is 196 cm) and David Lobo (Forward, 203 cm), have already spent a few matches in the "Planets".
Speaking of American Legionnaires, the General Director of "The Planets" noted that, of course, James Ellisor and David Lobo help the club, and he is glad that the Americans have accepted the offer to defend the colors of Ukhta team. But we shouldn’t emphasize them somehow, because "the club has only one nationality. It is a player." The main tasks of the new leader are the creation of fighting team and maintain a good atmosphere in the team.
-You have experience in the U.S. After all, why do players like Ellisor and Lobo come to us here? Why do not they try their hand across the ocean? Why do not they try to get into the NBA?
- Of course, every basketball player wants to get to the NBA. But today our VTB United League, if do not take some individual matches, is up there with the highest level of trans-Atlantic. I mean the level of the game, because we improve our results, our league develops. And the goal of our team is to get to VTB United League, having fulfilled our task in the Super League. I think that through the season we will have the right to receive the status of a team that can play in the VTB United League. If we talk about the Americans, first of all they have the desire to play basketball. It is very difficult to realize yourself at the NBA. And visit to Russia to the team of Super League level is a real chance for these basketball players to express themselves. They understand it, and we are glad that they have a big motivation.
We have a lot to grow
- We have a good staff, and I'm very glad for it, it is comfortable for us to communicate with each other, I am grateful to all the guys for that. We should thank USTU Rector Nikolai Denisovich Tskhadaya and CEO of "Arcticmorgeo" Sergei Ilyich Yegorov for that, without whom this project would be impossible - said S. Anohin.
- The platform which was created is good, and we must continue to move forward. I am glad that in this regard we have the full support and understanding of what we want to build, what we want to go. I think that will finish all arrangements within one and a half to two months, and you will see a completely new structure of the club at the beginning of 2013.
Before talking with the CEO of the team, we talked with a center Anton Dudukin and forward Alexander Zaikin. They also intent to laid out fully in every game, helping the team to achieve good results. The basketball players confirmed that the atmosphere in the team is warm; the staff of the team is excellent. On a question about the infrastructure of the club A. Zaykin answered with a smile: "We have a lot to grow." Talking about the beginning of the season, the players said that everything is still in the make -up, and they should more play together. Anton Dudukin said the team becomes better, compared to last season, expressing confidence that "there will be the prize place with such a staff."
- Do you and the American Legionnaires understand each other? Haven’t you made them to learn Russian language?
- That's not necessary. We normally understand each other. And it is not so important to know the language here but we should feel each other - said A. Zaykin.
«Аs long as possible»
Of course, we talked with American basketball players. They greeted us with smiles and friendly «nice to meet you». After talking with them, we couldn not agree with the words of S. Anohin, noting that the legionnaires were chosen not only for gaming, but also for personal qualities.
During the conversation with the players from the United States, it emerged that they are not from Miami and Houston, as it was previously reported, but from Glendale (Arizona) and Spring Valley (NY). Born on the East Coast, David Lobo studied at Texas A & M University (Texas Agricultural and Mechanical Engineering University) and a native of Arizona James Ellisor was educated at Bemidji State University (Bemidji, Minnesota). Both played successful for their team universities in NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association), but they were not selected in the NBA on the draft and got the status of free agents.
On the question of how long they plan to settle in Russia, both Americans answered «as long as possible», and hearing the name of John Robert Holden (the most famous American legionnaire in Russia, who has got the second citizenship and played for our team), asked in bewilderment «who is he? ». Sergei Anokhin, who was near to them, held educational program on our eyes, told in details the Legionaries about their countrymen. The Americans, of course, are far from the possible offers to play for Russia.
We know that in the U.S. basketball is played almost from the cradles. James Ellisor admitted that he started to play basketball from ten years, when he studied in high school. At sixteen or seventeen he already knew he could play at high level. But David Lobo started to play basketball when he was six years old.
Everything is ok
- How did your family react to your decision to go to Russia? – We continue a short interview with the legionnaires.
DE: My relatives were excited, but happy. No one was disappointed, because everyone understands that it is good opportunity to do what I like. Now I enjoy playing basketball here, and my family is happy.
DL: This is a new stage in my career and, you know, a different continent...
- But was your family happy?
-Yes, of course, they were.
-Does our climate scare you? Have you seen snow for the first time here?
DE: I know that it will be very cold in winter, but it is a good opportunity for me, so the climate does not scary me. In fact, I saw snow for the first time when I was at college in Minnesota.
DL: I studied in Texas, where it is very warm, but, you know, I grew up in New York and saw the snow from an early age. Yes, there is much cooler, but it does not bother me particularly.
- What is most surprised you in Russia?
DE: I went to Russia, having some idea of the culture of your country, so I was not particularly surprised. The most important surprise for me was very friendly people I’ve met here. We were all well put up, and this is something that I value.
DL: Yes, people here are really funny and friendly. The city is good, calm ... Technologies in Russia are «a little bit down» (probably David Lobo means way of life, may be the toilet in the same "Burevestnik"), but this is ok.
- Do you like in the "Planet"? Are you satisfied?
DE: I and David were put up well by the team.
DL: I agree with James. I should add that we continue to adapt. We train hard, refine ourselves. I think everything will be okay.
- You have played two matches. Are you satisfied with your debut?
DE: Not as such. There is something to work at.
DL: We are in the process of adaptation, so we are still not in shape.
- Why did not you decide to go to Europe? Had you a chance to start a career in the NBA?
DE: No, after college I did not have much choice. There were two variants, one of which that choice I’ve made was the best for me.
DL: You know, many players continue their career in Europe, and it's not bad. There is also an opportunity for professional growth.
- What do you know about the European basketball?
DE: I know that there are very good teams and leagues in Europe, the competitions are held at a high level. All this gives me even more incentive to work hard and continue to grow.
DL: I agree with James. I will only add that Europe also has many great players.
- What would you do, if you did not become a professional basketball player?
DE: I would become a sports commentator and analyst.
DL: I would do business.
Add that in the U.S. both Legionnaires of the "Planet" are well known in their basketball environment. On sports sites of those states from which they came, there is more information about the stages of their careers, many photos. Well, let's hope that the performances for the Ukhta club will make a name of David Lobo and James Ellisoru in Russia.
They immediately created a popular both themselves and the club in Ukhta, today the stands of "Burevestnik" are overcrowded during the games of "Planet" and whether they were capacity, more Ukhta players would come to see the game of the Americans.
The new CEO of BC "Planet University" Sergei Anokhin was born in Saratov; in 2001 he finished the Saratov Law Institute. He played for Saratov BC "Avtodorozhnik" from the third year of studing (by the way, the current head coach of "Planet" Alexander Gutorov played for the first team then). After graduation, he attempted to travel to Moscow and start playing at a good level, but these plans were broken by injury. In 2004 S. Anohin worked with Alexander Gomelsky in PBL CSKA, that he notes as "one of the most striking episodes in his life." In 2006 he was the manager of the national women's basketball team of Russia (then Russia Team managed to beat the U.S. team in the playoffs in the World Cup). Then he returned to CSKA. In 2008, the current CEO of Ukhta club was the manager of both the Olympic teams, after which, he worked in the U.S. for three years.