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“The current UNICS would reach the Euroleague playoffs.” Interview with Kazan basketball player Knight

Date: July 12, 2024 Time: 18:22:39

The current champion of the VTB United League, UNICS, won the regular season for the first time in its history and intends to defend the title in the playoffs. One of the irreplaceable elements of the team is the American defender Marcos Knight. The legionnaire missed the end of the regular season due to injury, but should recover for the relegation series. “Championship” spoke with the player from Kazan.

— You rarely give interviews and Russian fans know little about you. Tell me how you got into basketball in the first place. “I started my basketball career while I was still in my mother’s womb. Since I was very little I loved basketball. My mother sent me to practice this sport.

—Could you have ended up in another sport? —When I was a child I also played baseball, but basketball is my favorite sport.

— Who was your idol when you were a child, or maybe there is someone you would like to emulate? —My main idol has always been God. And so, I often watched games with LeBron James and Michael Jordan.

— In the NCAA you played for the modest Chipola and Middle Tennessee programs. Do you communicate with any of your former teammates on those teams? — Yes, I communicate with some guys there. I won my first title at Middle Georgia College and my coach there remains my mentor to this day. I also played with my brother during my college career. I often communicate with my Middle Tennessee teammates and we regularly learn from each other about what’s new. Normally every summer we meet with them and spend time together. So I would say I’m in touch with most of my old college classmates.

—How did the careers of your comrades turn out in the end? “Some of them are still playing.” My Middle Georgia coach now coaches at the high school level, last year he made it to the Final Four, this year he made it to the quarterfinals. Overall, a lot of them are doing well now, which makes me happy.

Marcos Caballero


—You have spent more than a year and a half in Russia. What can you say about our country? – Very cold. People are really nice. Many people don’t understand anything about Russia; It seems to me that it is a great country. They are very beautiful, for example, Moscow and St. Petersburg, even here in Kazan, it is very beautiful, there is a beautiful Kremlin. The media often shows people here not as they really are. This is a very good country. The people here are wonderful. In general everything very good.

— You played in many countries: Germany, Spain, Türkiye, France. Now – in Russia. Can you compare Russia and these countries? — Each country and league is different. Everything is different everywhere, cultures differ from each other. In Germany, for example, I almost never saw snow. Food is still different everywhere, but the most important differences are cultural. If we talk about the tournament, I would say that Spain has the strongest championship after the NBA.

— Did you have doubts about playing in Russia? Maybe someone said something bad about Russia. – No, it wasn’t like that.

—How quickly did you adapt to Russia? – Yes, actually very fast. Wherever I go, I quickly get used to everything. Even here in Russia I adapted to the local culture and mentality. I’m just very adaptable in my life.

— You stayed at UNICS after you were able to obtain the degree with your active participation. Did you immediately realize that you wanted to stay here for another year? Did you consider other offers? Was there one last summer? —There is always interest in me from other clubs. Most of our team decided to stay: Dimitrievich, Reynolds, Labery. That’s why I decided to continue playing here. I know these guys well. I really liked the way we played together during the playoffs. The fact that the core team decided to stay was one of the biggest reasons why I decided to continue playing here.

— Could you be in the VTB United League before 2022? Maybe there were equipment offers? — There was interest, but no specific proposals were received. God wanted me to enter the league at the right time.

— Over the past three seasons, you have invariably won some kind of title. Is there any explanation for this? Maybe this has something in common? — I always work very hard. Especially during the offseason, where I work with my personal trainer, who is my brother. I always have the will to be champion. I want to be a great example for my son and show him that you have to work hard to win. I also want my family to be proud of me, my mother, my brother.

— Do you think something has changed within UNICS compared to last season? – I wouldn’t say that. Yes, we have new players, but our style of play, our toughness and level of defense remain the same. Only then can we win another championship.

— What can you say about working with Coach Perasovich? One of the best coaches of your career? “I deeply respect him because he himself played basketball at the professional level and was successful at it. And now he is successful as a coach. If we take the last 5 to 10 years, he is easily one of the five most successful coaches in Europe. He gives freedom to basketball players on the court. Meanwhile, he demands a lot. It was easy for me to adapt to this because I have had people with the same approach throughout my career. I got used to it easily when I finished at UNICS. I am used to very demanding specialists. Velimir does not allow anyone to relax and demands the same effort from everyone.

Marcos Caballero

Photo: VTB United League

—What do you think of the level of the VTB league in general? Jovica Arsic, Enisey coach, stated that the VTB league is not inferior to the Euroleague. “I don’t think I can agree with him.” It is my opinion. The Euroleague has a very high level. The United League is also good, but not at the same level as the Euroleague. But everyone has their own opinion about it.

—What place do you think the current UNICS squad would occupy in this season’s Euroleague? “We would definitely make the playoffs.” Of course, you can’t say that because we didn’t play there. But that’s my opinion.

—What do you think of the young Russian players? Can you tag someone? — I don’t watch many games of other teams. I only see players from other clubs when I play against them. I wish success to all young people. I hope they can reach a high level.

— The main part of the season remains ahead: the playoffs. What must UNICS adhere to to become champions for the second consecutive time? “We must continue to concentrate on our game. You must continue to improve your level every day. Last season we didn’t think about other teams, we started only from ourselves. It should remain that way. We must remain one team. We hit a slump and suffered three straight losses at the end of the regular season. This is not an excuse. But for the playoffs we will be fine, everyone will recover. Our plan is to win the championship.

— Did these three defeats in the end affect the team in any way? – No. It just makes us hungrier. We know what happened. But what concerns the internal affairs of the team does not leave the scope of the locker room. We know what to do.

— Is there a team that you personally would like to avoid facing in the playoffs? – No, there is no such equipment.

— If UNICS reaches the final, who would you like to be your opponent? “For me and my teammates it doesn’t matter who we play with. Like I said, we focus on ourselves. It doesn’t matter who we face in the final. The most important thing is to win the title.

— Mention the main advantage of UNICS over other equipment. — The interaction of our team. We fight in every game. But I think any team in the league can beat any other team, so I don’t think we have much of an advantage over the others. If we maintain the right attitude in every playoff game, this will be our advantage. We are really united, we work very hard.

— You recently had an injury. Did it affect your mental state, your way of playing? – No, I will always be fine. The injury didn’t affect me at all.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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