One of the brightest stars of the young generation [voted Eurocup Rising Star in 2010] Victor Claver, has decided to finish his illustrious European career and ply his trade in the Portland Trailblazers of the NBA. However before the young Spaniard will have the chance to conquer arenas of northern America there is a small issue of helping his native Spain to at a very least defend a silver medal which they won in Beijing 4 years ago.
Victor shares with Future Stars his views on yesterday’s game against Great Britain and also explains the secret of successful transformation of young starlets into a professional players.
FS: How would you assess yesterday’s game? It was a very strange game, Spain should of won by more, but Great Britain came back and you won only by one point what is your opinion of this game?
VC: We knew that it was going to be a hard game, we had a ten point advantage, but they fought us until the end. But we were solid in the last shots which allowed us to win.
FS: How do you see this Olympic tournament from your own perspective, This is a very strong and successful team, you are a very young player coming into the team, how do you see your role in the team? You didn’t play much in the previous European Championship, this time you should be playing more.
VC: This is my first time at the Olympic Games, but I have been with the National team for almost four years. We have one of the strongest and deepest teams, and every player can play a lot of minutes if needed. But that also means that there is a lot of competition for every position. At this point I am not concerned about minutes, everyone is here to help the team and will do what the coach wants.
FS: You had a very successful career in Valencia BC, you played solid minutes in both domestic and European competitions, now you are drafted by an NBA club, how do you see your life changing with this move to the NBA?
VC: For me it was a very important decision, Portland drafted me a couple of years ago, but now is the right time for me to go there. I want to use this as an opportunity for me to improve my skills there. I am ready to take full advantage of this opportunity.
FS: We are a website which is focused on young players, what do you think is the most important thing as a young player to make the transition from a successful Junior into a successful professional?
VC: It is difficult for some professional teams to put young players into the team because it is hard to give them a lot of minutes. The key is to have confidence in these young players, and little by little they will become more important in the team. The coaches must have confidence in these young players as they will fight for their place and will die for the team. I was very lucky that at Valencia I had coaches who believed in me and gave me the opportunity to develop my game.
FS: You are one of the favourite teams at the Olympic games, what is your target? Do you think the Americans are outside of everyone’s reach and the fight is for the Silver medal or do you think that you can beat them?
VC: We came here to win, we know that it is hard and will be difficult. We know that there are more teams in the fight for the medals. We came here together to win and I think that we have enough experience to perform under pressure and win importance games. if we play as a team to our potential like we know how to we will be fighting for those medals. We will have to show what we can do in the important games. As far as the Americans are concerned they are very strong, but the Gold medal is not already won.
Photographs courtesy of FIBA Europe