Exclusive interview with Malcolm Delaney, point-guard of FC Barcelona and a star of ACB and EuroLeague. A good talk with the american guard through many topics including NBA, EuroLeague and Summer rumors…
Finally you are back in EuroLeague. What is your feeling?
“Great feeling! It’s very fun to play here and come back to EuroLeague in a big club like Barcelona.”
Barcelona. A super team this year with a lot of big signings in Summer. Is there a pressure to win at all costs?
“No, I don’t think so. Barcelona must always win, in a place like this you always have kind of this pressure. I come late, shortly before the start of the season and it is the first year all together, but I still believe that we won’t be under more pressure compared to others. We’ll try to have fun and improve day by day.”
I’m telling you two names, give me your opinion on both. Nikola Mirotic and Leandro Bolmaro.
“They are both very good. Everyone knows Nikola Mirotic, a great player with experience in EuroLeague and NBA. Leandro Bolmaro is a very very interesting young man. He’s not afraid of anything or anyone, he shows us in training every day and he did it also when Coach Pesic put him on the court, giving him minutes.”
The Madrid-Barcelona rivalry seen through the eyes of a player. Every time these two teams meet it’s always a show inside and outside the court. Which player do you most admire or you would “steal” from Madrid?
“I know the great rivalry between the two clubs, but honestly for me it doesn’t changes a lot. I am here to play, to do well and it is my main goal every game. I would not steal anybody from Madrid, I trust my teammates a lot and we have a very good roster.”
What player is Malcolm Delaney today, compared to the one seen with Élan Chalon on your first experience outside the States?
“Yes, I was more a scorer, I thought more than anything else to score points. Today I’m more a point-guard with playmaking, the game has” slowed “down for me and I started to understand it better. I am more confident and I enjoy basketball day by day.”
Svetislav Pesic. Is it the best coach you’ve ever had? how important is it for you?
“First of all he is a great man. He respects me, he is a coach who works hard game by game. I am very happy with him because he gives a lot of importance to the offense and knows how to improve us constantly.”
In 2016, the Lokomotiv Kuban made many fans dream. You, Singleton, Randolph, Claver… What team was that Kuban?
“It was a great team! Every player had a strong desire to win, we all played with great altruism and we had a great coach like Bartzokas, a coach very close to the players. For me it was a great season, I liked to be a point of reference for my teammates. The entire roster had not won so much until these moments and we didn’t have much credit for favors, which is why we had a strong desire to prove to everyone that they were wrong in cutting us off at the beginning of the season. Game after game was going better, a great season with playoffs and Final Four reached at the end.”
Do you like this format of EuroLeague? A “Superleague” very close to the NBA product.
“Yes yes, I like it. First there was the”excuse”of the schedule for someone, to get to the Final Four, with some rounds to play. Someone said they had a schedule more difficult than the others etc … now you have to face all the teams, there are no more excuses! “
Is the NBA still in your thoughts?
“My goal is to win. I am 30 years old and I am not a very young player, so I will certainly make the best choices for my professional career. In the summer there were many rumors about me and 90% of these were fakes…”
Rumors like you were also close to Italy. There were people who said Olimpia Milano, who Virtus Bologna…
“I never talked to Virtus Bologna, they didn’t contact me, I can guarantee it. Ettore Messina and Olimpia Milano were certainly a very interesting couple, but at the beginning of the summer it wasn’t my plan to come back to Europe.”
There were also a little training camp with the New York Knicks…
“Honestly it was my decision. I had many opportunities, including a very lucrative contract in China, but I preferred to choose Barcelona. This team has been looking for me for many years, even after my season in Kuban, before I chose to go to the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks. The club, the teammates, the city and the desire to return to winning a EuroLeague help me to choose Barcelona.”