Maccabi Tel Aviv host’s Baskonia on Thursday night in Tel Aviv at 21:00 in another critical Euroleague game. The Yellow & Blue enter the contest with a 3-8 record and will look to build on their two game continental winning streak against the 4-7 Spanish side. One of the new faces for the Vitoria based team in Darrun Hilliard who is averaging almost 9 points per game in roughly 20 minutes. Not only was he selected in the second round of the 2015 NBA Draft but Hilliard also had the opportunity to play for the Detroit Pistons and the San Antonio Spurs before heading to Baskonia for this season. The Sports Rabbi has the chance to discuss his career to date and his goals to come.
Adjusting to living and playing overseas is never simple, but so far the Bethlehem, Pennsylvania native has been doing just fine, “It’s been fun. The city of Vitoria is amazing. Baskonia is a great club to start my Euroleague journey and I’m getting better every day. My teammates have been great to me on and off the court helping me adjust to being in Europe for the first time.”
As his career continued on, Hilliard didn’t want to point out just one or two people who have been able to influence development, “Every year of my pro career there has been a person who helped me mentally and physically. It’s multiple people who helped me.”
Hilliard played at Villanova between 2011-2015 under coach Jay Wright and graduated one year short of winning the National Championship but didn’t let that upset him, “Villanova was great. It’s too bad we didn’t make it too far in my senior year. I’m happy they won the national championship after I left. It just makes me proud.”
During the 2017/18 season Hilliard has the opportunity to play with the San Antonio Spurs while shuttling back and forth from their G-League franchise in Austin, Texas and had the chance to work with the likes of Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili as well as coach Gregg Popovich, “Being able to learn from those great players and a great coach like Pop was a great opportunity for me.”
Of course the NBA is still in the back of Hilliard‘s mind and looking to get the most out of this season is a major goal, “I don’t think the NBA opportunity is over yet and I’m here for a reason. I’m focused on this year and we’ll see what comes after that. Final 4 hopefully and winning as much as possible.”