Andrey Kirilenko comes back home!

24.02.2015
Andrey Kirilenko (photo: M. Serbin, cskabasket.com)
Forward Andrey Kirilenko (34 y.o., 206 cm) will join our team on todays practice. Famous Russian player who was recently waived by the Philadelphia 76ers signed with CSKA until the end of the season.

Media attention! Kirilenkos press conference will take place today, February 24, at 4:30 pm, in CSKA USH press center (use clubs entrance). The team practice starts at 6:30 pm, media allowed for first 15 minutes.

Kirilenko started his pro career in Spartak St. Petersburg in age 16 and took CSKA offer a year after. He spent two years in army team, he was chosen in the first round of NBA draft and signed his first contract with Utah Jazz in 2001. He played for 10 seasons, was an NBA All-Star, led the league in blocked shots and was chosen to NBA All-Defensive Teams. Kirilenko led Team Russia to 2007 Eurobasket gold, taking the MVP honors and FIBA Europe Player of the Year trophy. He helped the team to win the Eurobasket bronze in 2011 taking the All-Tournament team honors. Kirilenko contract with Jazz has expired in July of 2011 and the forward signed with CSKA as a free agent. He played full season for our team, making it to the Eurolague final, winning the Eurolague MVP trophy and VTB United League gold. In the summer of 2012 he helped Russian National Team win London Olympic bronze. After that Andrey returned to the NBA, played for Minnesota and Brooklyn. He was traded to Philadelphia in December of 2014 but never played a game for the 76ers.

Andrey Vatutin, PBC CSKA President:
It is always risky to try to improve the team in the course of the season. Especially when you invite the real star, not just a role player. Still any action connected to Andrey Kirilenkos name are special, they dont make you think twice. We always stayed in contact, and Ive said already that the locker is reserved for Andrey in our locker room. Now I am happy to give this locker to its legitimate owner. You can say a lot of words describing how much Kirilenko means for CSKA and Russian basketball, what an excitement he brings when the team comes to any Russian or European city. I would say that the interest to Euroleague and VTB League is guaranteed to rise. Weve experienced all of this already. And it is very difficult to describe our fans emotions right now.

I am sure that Kirilenko does not need much time to get his shape back Andrey stayed fit, he will join the teams practices today. He played together with most of CSKA leaders in the club and in the National Team so he will adopt quickly. The idea to bring the newcomer to the team was supported by Dimitris Itoudis: our head coach is not afraid of the difficulties which you cannot avoid while adding the strong player to the roster. We were able to sign the strongest Russian player and it is very important under the limit. Besides we managed to do it within the deadline and this is really great.

I would like to thank Norilsk Nickel management separately. Our owners show true interest in the teams results, they try to create the best conditions possible to help CSKA win.

Dimitris Itoudis, CSKA head coach:
Everyone knows who is Kirilenko and what he means for CSKA. Hopefully Andrey will join us healthy, and we will do everything possible to get him back in shape and help him adopt our basketball philosophy. All our coaching staff (and Kirilenko had a chance to work with some of its members) will be here to help. We talked on the phone already, I sent Andrey our playbook and I know he practiced individually. Kirilenko used to play on the highest level, he has a feeling of the game, he has talent and I am sure that he will adjust quickly though our first priority is not to rush things.

Andrey Kirilenko, CSKA forward:
I am glad to be back to my favorite team, where I played in the beginning of my careeer, then in the middle of it. Its great that I got this chance and I was happy to use it. I understand that the time has come to think about quitting as a pro player and in my opinion it is better to do it in my dear clubs uniform.