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NBA 23/12/2011, 23.35 Comments 0 Rumors

Sonny Weems: 'Europe is great for being able to work on your game'

Intervista esclusiva con Sonny Weems, ex Raptors ed ora giocatore dello Zalgiris Kaunas

NBA

Sonny Weems has played three seasons in the NBA averaging 7.7ppg, 2.5rpg and 1.8apg in 140 games. In 2010-11 former Arkansas had his best season in NBA with Toronto Raptors jersey with whom he has played 59 games (28 in the starting five) scoring 9.2ppg and adding 2.6rpg and 1.8apg.
With Zalgiris Kaunas, Sonny Weems is playing in Euroleague, VTB League United and LKL. His numbers in Euroleague are 17.5ppg (2FG: 51.5%, 3FG: 50%, FT: 66.7%), 5.9rpg, 1apg, 1.3spg and 16.2 of index rating in 10 games. In VTB League he is recording averages of 9.9ppg, 5.7rpg, 1.7apg in 7 games while in LKL, (Lithuanian league) in 7 games, Weems is scoring 8.9ppg with 5.3rpg and 1.1apg.

How do you feel the differences between NBA and European basketball?

SW: "NBA and Euro Ball differences is that the NBA game is more about isolation and Europe is more team oriented. Games are also longer in NBA".

What is the difference in coaching style?
SW: "Coaching styles are different because the rules are somewhat different. But it's not a big change"

You have signed a contract without NBA out with Zalgiris. How do you feel now that the NBA season is starting. Are you regretting your choice, also seeing your former teammate Ty Lawson who returned back to the States to play in the NBA? Or you still think your decision to spend the entire year in Europe is the right thing for you and your career?
SW: "I'm not disappointed at all. Of course I have my moments when I miss home but I am enjoying the experience. I had some goals that I set, and I am achieving them so far, so I'm good"

Last summer how many teams in Europe were interested in you, and why Zalgiris Kaunas? Maybe the great basketball tradition of the club?
SW: "I had about 3 teams interested but I chose Zalgiris because i thought it would be a good fit. I wanted to go to a team that had a good tradition, and also a team that wouldn't be too stacked that I could have a major impact".

What are your plans for the next season, considering that now that you are adapted to European basketball? You might look for a spot in a top european team as CSKA, Barcelona, Panathinaikos.

SW: "After this season, I will be going back to the NBA unless I get an offer in Europe that I can't refuse".

Is it better to be a go-to-guy player  in an Euroleague club or a role player in the NBA with limited minutes?
SW: "Go to player in Europe is cool, and a role player in NBA is too. When I go back to NBA I hope that my experience in Europe will help prepare me to be a full time starter and closer.  I wanna be on the floor at the end of games. When I came overseas I wanted to work on my 3pt shot, half court game, and my decision making. I have gotten better in all those areas. Europe is great for being able to work on your game".

You are used to play just in NBA, now with Zalgiris you play in three different leagues, VTB, LKL and Euroleague, at the same time: any game there is a different level of basketball you have to play, is it hard to adapt?
SW: "Playing in 3 leagues is different in each league. it is not really hard to adapt but my role is different in each league. A lots of games which is good".

Zalgiris Kaunas after a difficult start in EL reached Top 16 and is expected to have a strong group. What are the goals of the team this season?
SW: "I am excited we made the top 16, and I want to win in that too. We started off slow but finished well. We had a coaching change, Ty Lawson left and so we had to adjust".

What are your goals for this season?
SW: "My goals are to win and win big. And get better in those areas of my game that i mentioned".

What are the differences between living in Europe and in the States? Are you learning something new?

SW: "I've learned how to be a computer genius because it's super cold in Kaunas and it gets dark at 4pm (LOL). So I am in the house on the computer".

How different is the pressure on the players between NBA and Europe? Zalgiris has hot fans and Lithuania is the European basketball country.
SW: "I don't really feel no pressure. I block that out and just hoop. Pressure is when you can't take care of your family. That's real pressure. Basketball is fun pressure".

How do you find fans in Europe? It is better for a player to play in an NBA arena or in a European, hot Arena, with fans chanting and supporting all game long?
SW: "I love the fans in Europe. Kaunas fans are the best, then from what I've seen I say Pananthinakios, Bamberg, CSKA. But thats just what I've seen so far from our group".

Let's talk a bit about NBA. What is your prediction about NBA: winners, MVP, Top Scorer, rookie of the year?
SW: "Man, I don't know who is going to win in NBA this year. It should be an exciting season tho".

As Italians, we should ask you something about your ex teammate in Toronto, Andrea Bargnani. Do you think he can be an All-Star soon and a clutch player?
SW: "Andrea, that's my guy. He can be as good as he wants to be, very talented. He can be a clutch player. He already is. Few more pieces around him and he will be even better".

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you.  

Sonny.

E. Carchia

E. Carchia

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