Maccabi Tel Aviv faces Barcelona on Thursday at 22:00 Israel time as they look to record their second win in Euroleague action. Scottie Wilbekin who has been suffering from a hand injury should be back for the Yellow & Blue as they face a game Barca side with a number of new faces. One of the, is European veteran Chris Singleton and The Sports Rabbi spoke to the American born big man just ahead of the contest.
1) How has your first few months at Barcelona been?
“So far so good. The team has really accepted me and I feel like we’re starting to develop something here. But we’ve got to continue to work and continue to believe and I think things will look good. But it comes from us.”
2) This is your 4th season playing in the Euroleague. How has the experience gained helped you develop as a player?
“It’s been good. In my first year at Lokomotiv Kuban we went to the Final Four and it really opened up my eyes to European basketball. My second and third years at Panathinaikos showed me the true culture of how basketball is in Europe. My fourth year here at Barca shows tradition and it’s been a ride. I’ve developed every year and I just want to try to get better every day and try to win as much as possible.”
3) In college you were known for your defensive prowess, but you are certainly also an offensive force, terrific rebounder and dangerous from the 3. What has been the secret to your success as an all around player?
“I feel like I’ve always been an all around player but at Florida State our concept as a team was more defensively and that’s what I tried to concentrate on. When I got to the league they told me I couldn’t shoot, so that’s what made me want to shoot better. At Kuban I played the 5 and coach Georgios Bartzokas really believed in me and told me to be versatile which really helped. All the coaches I had believed in me as did the players as well. I just fit well with everyone.”
4) What’s it like playing with guards Kevin Pangos and Thomas Heurtel?
“I feel good playing with them and I think I’ve been blessed each year in Euroleague to play with such good guards. I think I had a top 2 or 3 guard each year I played. My first year was Malcolm Delaney, arguably the first and top guard in Europe. Then I had Nick Calathes who leads in assists and now Heurtel who breaks records and was in the top 5 last year in assists. Plus Pangos has an all around game. I have been blessed to have them and I’m going to continue to play my game and just continue to be with guys like that. It’s amazing and I’m so fortunate.”
5) What are your expectations and goals for the upcoming campaign with Barcelona?
“My main thing is to win. If you win everything will be alright on all fronts. Me having this attitude and trying to instill that back into Barcelona, just believing and just the little things you do especially with teammates, that’s the main thing. I’m here to win. Whether it’s La Liga, the Cup or Euroleague, my thing is to win and I’m going to do everything in my power to do that.”