|When you describe the perfect all-around player, F.C. Barcelona Regal’s Pete Mickeal is the prototype. The small forward can score near the basket and outside, rebound, pass and play great defense. But when it comes to Mickeal, his importance to Barcelona’s title aspirations goes beyond just what he can do on the court. Mickeal is one of Barcelona’s clear leaders. It was no coincidence that in his first season with the club, 2009-10, Barcelona tasted Euroleague glory. However when Mickeal was sidelined for most of last season with a career-threatening injury, Barcelona was not the same and did not reach the Final Four. This season, Mickeal is back in every way, playing as well and looking as hungry as ever before. With the playoffs looming, he fielded questions from his many fans around the world for Euroleague.net's Fan Mail. Naturally, some of those questions were about the upcoming playoffs series against Unics, which starts in Barcelona on Tuesday. "Unics will come here with confidence and anytime you are so close to the Final Four, you play your heart out," Mickeal answered one fan. "I am sure they will play a lot better than they did in the regular season against us. We will be ready for the challenge."
How do you stay in shape in the offseason? What type of drills and exercises do you do? Do you have a trainer, and do you think it is important to have a trainer?
Ashanti Johnson, USA
"Yes, I have a personal trainer. We train almost every day. The routine is basically wake up, work out and then go on a fishing boat in the morning. My rule is that I have to work out before I go fishing - and I do fish almost every day, so that means I have to work out! It is a funny rule that I have, but it works out well. Even on the boat I do some pushups, man, I just like that! It's fun. So yes, I work out almost every day."
Do you think that Barcelona lacks three-point shooting this season?
Vincenzo Mombrini, Italy
"We don't lack anything. We have players that are capable of doing anything on a basketball court. We have the luxury that any given day you have guys that step up and make three-pointers, shots close to the basket, rebound, play well at the end of the games... I think our team is ready to do anything."
It is said that you are an "Almost Perfect Player" considering that you can pass, rebound, shoot and score. Not many players can do all that. Keep doing what you are doing!!!!
Chase Valdez, USA
"Well, first of all, thank you - it is a great compliment! I keep working on my game every day. I never get comfortable with the way I play. I always look to work on my game and try to improve every day. It has been like that since I was a kid. Every day you step on the court, you have to try to improve or it is better to go home. I have my mindset and am very coachable. I like to be coached. It doesn't matter how many titles or awards you have won, I like to be coached and always learn new things."
Hi Pete. I just wanted to ask you when did you start to play basketball and when did you realize that you had the talent needed to be a serious player?
Hagit, Tel Aviv
"Well, when I was 12 years old, I was playing for a professional team that travelled through the United States. I had a lot of experience playing in competition against guys who were bigger and older than me, all at 12 years old. When I was 16 in high school, I was already playing on the varsity team. I had the experience to play against bigger guys. By the time that I got to be a senior in high school, I knew there were a lot of colleges looking at me and that's when I found out I had the potential to be a professional player."
Hello Pete! We were very scared when you got injured last season, but the club extended your contract and we are all happy to have you back on court. How difficult was that and how did you like the club's gesture? Good luck against Unics!
Jordi Balaguer, Barcelona
"Thanks, Jordi! Last time was... how I can explain? I was a situation that surprised not only me, but a lot of people. It also put a lot of things in my life in perspective. You have to count all the blessing that you have. When you are healthy, you have to be very thankful because on any given day, something can go wrong with your body. Nobody knows how these things happen; even some doctors, they don't know. And when doctors don't know, it is kind of scary. Luckily, the doctors detected the problem and I got back on the court. As for Barcelona, it was a mutual decision, not much of a gesture, and we decided that I sign here. It was a great thing that they wanted my services again for two more years, because I feel great in this club. Coming here was the best decision that I have made in my career. I had other options to go and leave to other places, but I chose to stay here in Barcelona and it was a great decision."
How different do you expect Unics to be in the playoffs? You beat them twice, really easily, in the regular season. Hope you see you against my CSKA in the final!
Andrey Savelyev, Moscow
"Well, when the playoffs come and you have the chance to go to the Final Four, you have to play unbelievably well. Unics have some great players like Lynn Greer, Domercant, Lyday – guys that can score. They also have other good players on that team. Unics will come here with confidence and anytime you are so close to the Final Four, you play your heart out. I am sure they will play a lot better than they did in the regular season against us. We will be ready for the challenge."
I am surprised to see that you played in South Korea for one season. How did you like the experience? Can you share any anecdotes from that season? Thanks!
Mike Laroche, New York, USA
"Yes, I played in South Korea and also in the Philippines for the summer! It was a great experience; I love Asia and playing there. Once I played in the Philippines, I got comfortable in Asia. It was my first time overseas and after a year in Spain – where I had great stats – I went to South Korea and was the MVP there, scored 35 points per game and came right back to Spain. That decision to go to Korea helped me out a lot, because I played great there, came back to join Tau and went to the Final Four. It worked out perfectly for me. When you have the opportunity to go and play for teams that really want you, it is hard to sit around and wait for other teams, you know? I was at that point where I couldn't wait any longer for other teams to keep negotiating contracts. They wanted me and showed me how much they did. I am a globetrotter, I would play anywhere in the world, it doesn't matter where. As for an anecdote, yes, I can share a funny story. In South Korea, the team rarely has dinner together. All the time, Americans go to American restaurants, Koreans go to local places and it is always a free dinner. Once my Korean teammates said 'hey, we are going to a Korean restaurant, do you want to come?' and I said 'OK, what kind of restaurant are you going to?' and I found out that they were going to a dog restaurant. It was a tradition for everybody to eat a piece of the dog. It was just a funny story, my teammates were great and I loved to play with them - but I passed on the dog."
Hola Pete! How do you like our city, Barcelona? What are your favorite places and restaurants? I will be there at Blaugrana against Unics. Som-hi Barça!
Dani Arcos, Barcelona
"Dani, your city is beautiful! I was just driving yesterday and thinking that Barcelona is a great place to work and live. It is a pleasure being here, being a part of this, living such a great city. It is an honor for me. I know I am in a great city because I have been everywhere in the world and I am very blessed to be here. My favorite restaurant? That's a great question… I have to say Da Greco, an Italian restaurant in Passeig de Gracia. My favorite place to go in Barcelona is the port. I like to walk in the port and it is just beautiful to look at the boats in the water."
Hello Pete. My team Montepaschi plays Olympiacos in the playoffs. What chance do you give us to get to the Final Four? Which other teams do you expect to see in Istanbul?
Mario Cimbrellini, Siena
"Oh, good question. Well, Montepaschi has the home-court advantage and plays very well at home. They can also win on the road, so I think they have the advantage and I give them the advantage over Olympiacos, based on the way Montepaschi played all season. Olympiacos is most definitely playing a lot better right now and they built a team that can compete to go to the Final Four. The other teams I expecte to go to the Final Four are most definitely CSKA Moscow, FC Barcelona Regal... and Maccabi. Those are the teams I expect to see there."