Do you consider AEK to be a turning point in your career two years after arriving in Europe? How does the defensive-minded approach of your new team compare to the style of play you were used to?
Playing in the Greek league which is one of the best in Europe is definitely a turning point in my career. I am just happy and excited to be here. I think this is going to be a great year playing against two of the top European teams (Olympiacos and Panathinaikos) as well as in the Basketball Champions League against some good competition. The style of play fits me great.
Coach [Jure Zdovc] lets us play within the confines of the offence and play free, play through mistakes and so on. It was just like that last year at CEZ Nymburk, coach [Ronen] Ginzburg is a great coach and he allowed me to play the way I am capable of playing. The defence is something I am still adjusting to, I take a lot of pride in playing defence, I consider myself a good defensive player. Coach runs a lot of good defensive schemes, I am improving in it and trying to get better every day just like everybody else on the team.
What should fans expect to see from you this season? Is leading the Basketball Champions League or the Greek League in three-point shooting on your radar?
AEK fans should expect a player that is willing to die for the team. I will do whatever it takes to win, whether that be scoring, assisting, rebounding, taking charges, diving on the floor for loose balls, guarding a wing. I am not really into individual statistics, I am just about the team winning. If I do lead the league in three-point shooting or something that would be great, if not it doesn’t really matter. As long as we win, I will be happy.
What particular skills did you have to work on to become a great pull-up shooter and are they still a big part of your individual training?
I think especially pull-up shooting it’s just repetition. I try to shoot before and after practice, it’s a little bit like lifting weights. The same way the more you lift weights the stronger you get, the more shots you take the more confident you are during a game to take and make shots. There was not really much I modified about my shooting, I have been following pretty much the same routine since I was 15 years old. Repetition, confidence and shot selection, taking shots that you know you can make, are the keys.
What do you know about your team's opponents in Group E and how do you expect AEK to fare in that group?
One of my team-mates from Nymburk, Julian Vaughn, plays for Zielona Gora and Kyle Weems who was on Missouri State Bears when I was younger (Dixon played for he Missouri Tigers in the NCAA) plays for Besiktas. I don’t really know that much about the other teams I think this pool is the toughest in the BCL. So we’ve got our work cut out for us but at the same time I think that we can go out, make a strong effort and try to win every game. We’re capable of doing that, we have a good starting five, a great bench and a tremendous coaching staff, so we will be well-prepared for each and every game.
Having had the experience with CEZ Nymburk last year where you played in three competitions, what will you do this season in terms of preparation or routine to withstand the grind of two games a week?
Last year with Nymburk we played close to 65 games in three leagues, it was very tough and I think we might have lost a few games because of how rigorous the travel was. Water, proper food and rest are the biggest things in a long season. Stretching is very important as well, I am trying to do those things to the best of my ability every day. It’s going to be a good season this year as long as we take care of our bodies and we stay healthy.