Euroleague Final Four Preview: Tiago Splitter Interview

Euroleague Final Four Preview: Tiago Splitter Interview
Apr 26, 2006, 06:29 pm
DraftExpressÂ’ Brazilian correspondent Giancarlo Giampietro had a chance to interview countryman Tiago Splitter right before he took off with his team for the Euroleague Final Four in Prague. Splitter confirms his entry in the 2006 NBA draft, talks about his buyout issues with Tau Vitoria, and discusses his upcoming matchup on Thursday with Maceo Baston and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

To read more about the upcoming Euroleague Final Four, to be played and broadcasted live on NBATV this Friday and Sunday, visit the official Euroleague website.


Q: Hello Tiago, it's a pleasure to talk to you. Well, the Euroleague Final Four is right around the corner. Are you and Tau ready for the battle once again?

A: We'll go to Prague this Wednesday, with big expectations. Last year, it was already a big deal for us to go to Moscow. Any big club from Europe dreams about going to the Final Four, that has to be our objective. Now we're a little more experienced and we want to make some noise.

Q: What about the rematch with mighty Maccabi Tel Aviv? They're trying to be the first team since Jugoplastika to achieve a three-peat in the Euroleague...

A: Yeah, they're a great team. They're a little bit slower this year, I mean, they've lost a step without Jasikevicius, but their structure on court is still the same. A very dangerous team. But we have our own big time players that can make the difference.

Q: Who are you expecting to match up? Is it going to be Nikola Vujcic?

A: No, I believe I'll face Maceo Baston. He isn't the most creative guy on the court, but he's very active, doing the little things. Vujcic is more of a center that plays with his back to the board. We have to be very alert with him.

Q: What can you tell us about your whole season? Are you satisfied with your progress since the good showing with the National Team last year?

A: Well, I played well in the FIBA America's Cup, but I had a bad start of the season here in Spain. I thought I played better since coach Perasovic arrived. He gave me confidence. But we play a different style, very different from the South Americans. I don't have too much freedom on the court, and we have a lot of great players to contribute. So I have to do my job for the team.

Q: What was the difference between Pedro Martinez and Perasovic
regarding your status?

A: They have different point of views. Martinez liked to use more experienced players, while Perasovic likes more physical and intense players, which compliments well with my style.

Q: Are you still training with a personal coach?

A: Yes, I'm still working out with a coach that is more situated to working with young players. I've worked daily with shooting sessions. Also, we get to watch a lot of film.

Q: That's fine. But now I'll have to make that inevitable question: the NBA draft. Are you going to declare?

A: Yes, I've already declared.

Q: So you are in again? What about your contract situation with Tau?

A: I have a contract until 2008. My agents are trying to reach an agreement with the club. Let's see what happens until the end of the season. We have to wait for the NBA teams. But it's still early, there's nothing sure right now. For me, to stay in, I would have to be at least a lottery pick, so I could pay my buyout. But right now there's no value set. If they don't want me to go, they can hold me.

Q: Ok, the last one. What do you expect from World Championships in Japan? It's been four years since your debut in Indianapolis.

A: I have the championship on my schedule. A lot of things changed since that tournament in Indianapolis. Some veterans have left the squad. I've grown, our team has grown. The Brazilian Team has the ability to do great things.

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