Forward David Vanterpool is one of the key players in CSKA line up this year. We decided to talk to the player to discuss several points of CSKA life with several weeks to go to the Final Four of the Russian Cup and the Euroleague...
David Vanterpool: Every one would do almost anything for a family member
Forward David Vanterpool is one of the key players in CSKA line up this year. We decided to talk to the player to discuss several points of CSKA life with several weeks to go to the Final Four of the Russian Cup and the Euroleague:

CSKA qualified to the Final Four for the 4th time in a row. In your opinion what is the mental difference between the tournament and the other parts of the Euroleague season?

- Surely there is a difference. Early in the season everyone wants to succeed. Everyone has their own goals and do their best to reach them. For most of the teams qualifying to the Final Four means that they reach the goal set for the season. But CSKA still has some goals to reach so I guess there would be a difference between us and the other teams.

You had a chance to play in the Final Four in Tel Aviv two years ago. What was your impression?

- It was exiting. It was my first season in Europe, first season with Montepaschi and it was quite a surprise for everyone that we made it. I was nominated to the All Euroleague team but finished in the second five. It was a great experience. We had a chance to win both of the games we played but unfortunately lost both. And the main thing for me was that I wanted to be back to the Final Four but I wanted to win there.

Do you evaluate reaching the Final Four as a true achievement in your career?

- Surely. I am proud that my team is among the best four European teams. Especially this season. When we lost David Andersen almost nobody believed we would make it.

What would be the most important for CSKA in the days left until the Final Four?

- To keep ourselves in the same state as we are right now. There is an opinion that we qualified to early and it would make it harder to keep ourselves in shape for such a long time. But with the win in Istanbul we gave ourselves a chance to rest for a while. Some players came back with little injuries and they need some time to recover. And also we have time to fix some defects in our game. So qualifying early we received some advantage.

But nevertheless three weeks is rather a long period of time…

- We had the Final Four of the Russian Cup with a week to go to Prague. We would have a real fight for the trophy and it would help us to catch a right mood with several days before the first game.

CSKA has some kind of emotional raise past several months and it helps the team to get some mental control in the games against the strong rivals. What is the reason for that?

- At first it came from CSKA president Sergey Kuschenko. His attitude was to make us feel like a real family both on and off the court. Our coach Messina did his maximum to adapt the philosophy for us. And we started to feel as a true family. Everyone would do anything for a family member. So we do not have problems if one player do not score but works in defense or rebound or organize the game. If we fight we do it together.

Is it the reason why it takes the team more time to get concentrated to each game?

- No. It is a long season. We were struggling all this period long. But I told from the very start of it that it is more important how the team is ready in April and May but not in November. It is logical that you can not play with the same stress, with the same concentration all the year. As we have decisive games right now we need more time to get ready for them.

You started to play at the playmaker position a couple of months ago. Do you enjoy it?

- I do not care about the position. I’d rather be a center if my team would need me to and I would have a chance to play. It is not my first experience as a playmaker. I played as a playmaker at Montepaschi and even when I was in the NBA. But nevertheless every time in the rosters they put the word ‘forward’ next to my surname.

Do you like being the playmaker because you have a chance to control the ball for a longer time?

- Yes. And also because I have a chance to make the decisions of my own.

Controlling the ball and making decisions does it mean being the leader of the team?

- For me it is about being myself, David Vanterpool. I think that the leader is the person who helps the team where it needs mostly and takes the responsibility. If the weak point is rebounding he should rebound, and it case something went wrong the blame should be the leader.

CSKA style of playing: how would you describe it?

- We are smart. Probably we are one of the smartest teams in the league. And we play good defense better then any other team.

Is it similar to any of your previous teams?

- Intelligence in some ways similar to Siena but just a bit. As for the defense I can not remember any of my teams to play in the same way. And we should keep on playing like that because only defense and rebounding win championships.

And what about the balance between the offense and defense…

- In theory it sounds well but it does not work like that. It is a one way process one can build the offence on the basis of the defense but with just well working offence one can do nothing. In a regular game even with the score 1-0 the team that did not miss a point would win.

But every team that won the Euroleague in the past several years used to have he leader who could bring points and take responsibility for the shots.

- Maccabi had super stars on the roster. But their strong point was the team defense. They used to know each other limits and helped for example Sarunas in the one on one defense.


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