“You can’t put it on Dragan that he didn’t pan out in the NBA” Alec Peters & Baskonia welcome Maccabi in Euroleague action

Maccabi Tel Aviv visits Baskonia in Euroleague Gameday 13 action on Thursday (20:00 Israel time) as they will look to build off of their victory last week over Red Star Belgrade. The Yellow & Blue enter the contest with a 4-8 record while the hosts are 6-5 and have won 3 games in a row.

Alec Peters – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net

One of Dusko Ivanovic’s new star players is Alec Peters who arrived in Vitoria this season after featuring with Anadolu EFES last year and CSKA Moscow during the 2018/19 campaign when he was a member of the Euroleague Champions in his first season overseas.

Just ahead of the continental clash, The Sports Rabbi spoke to Peters about his outlook on the upcoming clash, his time in college, the NBA, Mike James, Devin Booker, Dragan Bender and the team’s play to date.

Alec Peters – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net

“We’ve been able to put together some good weeks and every team have their stretches where they win one and lose a couple. But we have strung together 3 wins in a row and played a couple of great games. That’s important and I think that we can improve our consistency as the season moves forward and have more consecutive weeks where we play well together.”

Peters is averaging 12.9 points and 4.2 rebounds per game in a breakout year after posting only 4.2 points with EFES and 5.3 with CSKA, “The season is still early on and there is a lot more that I can do. The coaching staff believes in me and believes in what I can do as a player and that’s a compliment to myself to deliver on that. We have been able to get the best out of each other.”

“We know as a team what our recipe for success is and thats having big time intensity on the defensive end and run. We’re younger and we have mobile guys that can run the floor and get out on transition. When we stick to our recipe we will be successful.”

Dusko Ivanovic – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net

Playing for coach Ivanovic is an interesting adventure in itself for any player and Peters is thriving so far under the bench boss, “Quite the character is the best way to describe him. He’s not for everybody, but what you get in intensity and focus you get a coach that is well prepared and is going to give every piece of information and detail to see you succeed. You have championships on his resume and it’s hard to argue with something like that. he may be on you but you got to find a way to balance it and he’s done a great job for my career and let me be the player I am and have the role that I have.”

The Washington, Illinois native fell in love with the game at an early age, “When I was 5-6 years old my parents signed me up for a basketball league and when you’re young you play so many sports but basketball seemed to stick. I knew early on that was what I wanted to do and what I wanted my life to be a part of.”

As for role models, Peters singled out one of the greatest guards in NBA history as well as his father, “My first favorite basketball player was Jason Kidd watching him play for in the Finals for the Nets against the Spurs he was the first person that I gravitated towards. My father has been with me every step of the way and when I told him that I loved basketball he didn’t really gave any playing experience. But he studied and learned and became a very successful coach on the AAU circuit. To have him along before I went to college was a true blessing. My High School coach who passed away from brain cancer in 2019 was so instrumental in the intensity, focus and mentality that I play with comes from them and they teaching.”

Alec Peters – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net

Peters attended Valparaiso University in Indiana and was happy to do so while also going the NCAA Tournament in the 2014/15 season, “It was a happy medium choice and I looked at bigger schools like Boston College or close to home like Illinois State which was in my backyard but Valparaiso was in between about 3 hours away and gave me a chance to play right away. Bryce Drew showed me the ropes as to what it takes to get to the next level.”

“Going to the “Big Dance” was extra special coming from a mid major as it’s all about the underdog and Cinderella story. To have that chance was super special to me and makes your bond with your college teammates that much bigger. My only regret was not having been able to do it other than my sophomore year. We could have been that Cinderella story but we never fulfilled that.”

After four years at Valparaiso, Peters was selected by the Phoenix Suns in the 2017 NBA Draft with the 54th overall pick in the second round. Being part of the Suns allowed Peters to see a superstar in the making in one Devin Booker, “Devin is only going to become bigger and I know that people are starting to recognize that but he’s a potential MVP candidate under 25 years old is scary. Phoenix is only going to get better and they overhauled the whole situation there and made things better. Devin is the right guy to lead the charge if he sticks there.”

Alec Peters – Photo Credit: NBA

He also played alongside TJ Warren who is now with the Indiana Pacers and some about what type of professional the budding star is, “TJ is was one of my favorite teammates who come to do your business and let that speak for yourself. He wasn’t the most vocal guy but he showed up and produced. That’s something you can’t argue with and teach. No matter what he’s going to come do his job and do it well.”

His one-time teammate in Phoenix was Mike James who is now terrorizing opponents in the Euroleague and Peters had some interesting things to say about the guard, “Mike is an unbelievable talent there is no item way to say it. The shots he makes it’s stuff that he works, if it’s his fadeaway jump shot or movements, he works on it. He’s a guy you give the freedom because he makes such great plays and helps you win. One of the most misunderstood things about Mike is that a lot people have this misconception that he doesn’t contribute to winning teams and that’s totally unture. Mike can lead and any team he plays for can win the championship; he’s an MVP talent.”


One of the players Peters is looking forward to seeing is Dragan Bender who shared the court with him the “Valley of the Sun” and thinks he still has plenty to offer in the world’s best league as he came into the NBA with high expectations, “It’s tough when you’re a high draft pick and a top 5 lottery pick coming into the league. We were both in a situation in Phoenix that he dealt with longer than I that blew up in the end. There was a reason things blew up because things weren’t going to well. You can’t put that on him that he didn’t pan out in the NBA I think that Dragan has a lot to offer as an NBA player. You can’t teach what he has and the tools that he has and I am really looking forward to seeing him. For him to be back at Maccabi that’s only going to help them. Eventually Dragan is still a young player and will have many opportunities to get back.”

Fortunately for Peters, his European adventure began in Russia after splitting his first year as a pro with the Phoenix Suns and the G-League. Along with but only playing for the Euroleague champs, Peters shared the court with an all-star squad, “In my first season, to win a Euroleague title with CSKA, I can’t think of any American who has come over here and had that success. To do that with Euroleague Hall of Fame roster in Nando de Colo, Kyle Hines, Sergio Rodriguez there’s non question I was part of a special group and that experience will be carried with me. I have that opportunity where I came to a team that may not be considered as championship contender this season but to prove myself who can contribute on that scale at a larger level.”

Alec Peters – Photo Credit: Euroleague.net

As for tipping off against Maccabi Tel Aviv, Peters knows what his club will have to do in order to walk away with the victory, “It’s going to be a tough game and I don’t think their record reflects at all and they have a really talented roster. They bring that fight and intensity and we have to play really solid one on one defense and guard their scorers in Scottie Wilbekin, Elijah Bryant and Tyler Dorsey those guys on the perimeter that do a really good job breaking down their defenders. We will have to have that defensive intensity and that mindset from the jump if not they’ll take it really quick.”

Sign up for our newsletter


You may also like…

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates. 

You have Successfully Subscribed!