It's been tough season for us so far, but I think if we continue to work, everything will take care of itself. We're taking the right steps. A lot of our games have been close, but we're not happy with that. We want to win games. I think we all understand what needs to be done and it's up to us to go and do it. We know that we're a good team and even though we have lost a few games by one shot, we can't allow those games to come down to one shot. At the end of the season, no one looks back and says, "They were a good team, but lost a few games by 1 point."
Our record and those close losses motivate us to work even harder. We know that Alexey is going to have to carry us some of the way and we have to be right there behind him to support him any way we can. We have to do our job even when he's not playing. I think we played okay without Alexey in Madrid, but we didn't come away with the win.
'If we go out and work hard and play the best defense that we can, everything will take care of itself.'
We play Buducnost in our next game and I know that they are a good team coming off a big win. We know that if we go out and work hard and play the best defense that we can, everything will take care of itself. Against a team that shoots from outside the way that they do, we have to find ways to stop that. We have to be ready from the start of the game.
This is the EuroLeague. All the teams are competitive. If you're on this level, you're a good player. So I expect to play against one of the best players in the league every time I take the court.
'No one expects us to win, so we have to give everything we have every game.'
One of our new players is Jordan Mickey. He's a great player and I think coach and management did a good job in recruiting him here. We play in a certain system here, which is built around Alexey Shved and it can take a while to understand that. I think that Jordan is learning that; every day he is learning more about European basketball and he is learning about Khimki basketball. Just because he doesn't have a lot of points in some games doesn't mean he's not a good player, it just means he's adjusting.
I recently met with a group of homeless people here in Khimki and bought a meal for them. They were able to sit down with me and tell me a little bit about themselves and their life stories. I try to do as much as I can with the time that I have, though this season feels a lot busier with the games that we have compared to last season. Any time I have free time I try to be involved with the community. As I wrote last time, we are still planning to bring a group of children from an orphanage to one of our home games, but we have not found a date that works yet.
The chemistry on the team is good. We all get along off the court and we all understand what we have to do on the court. We have a fighting spirit on the team and we have to understand that we are the underdog. No one expects us to win, so we have to give everything we have every game. We have to fight on each and every possession and if we do that, we can win games.