Sumgait basketball player Nazar Guliyev gave an interview to the club's press service.
According to Idman.biz, he talked about his passion for this sport, his team's future games and goals.
- You were born in 2002 in Belarus. How did interest in basketball arise there?
- I learned the first secrets of basketball at the Borisov sports school. When I was in the 4th grade, I practiced there. My uncle's boys encouraged me to play basketball and I started playing in the same team with them. It happened that now he - Vugar Guliyev is playing in one of the NCAA teams in America, and I am playing in "Sumgait".
- Does he has a chance to participate in drafts?
- Yes, he has such an idea. He invites me to America. He says that you play basketball so well, why don't you want to try yourself in the United States?! What can I say, I doubt that I will succeed there. You have to work hard to prove yourself there. Maybe I will go. I still have time to decide.
- And how did you develop in Belarus? In which teams did you play?
- I performed in Borisov until I was 16 years old. I played in the Youth Championship of Belarus as a part of the team representing this city. After graduating from high school and entering the university, I was invited to the "TSMOKI Minsk" team. I played in the youth team of this club for two years. Later, l was offered from Azerbaijan.
- You have already appeared in 3 games here. What can you say about the level of our championship?
- I really liked it. In fact, there are certain differences between the Belarusian and Azerbaijani Leagues. We are still at the beginning of the road. Almost everything is built from scratch. The championship has been held in Belarus for more than 20 years. The level of its local players is high. We still have a gap in this regard. But the level of legionnaires performing in Azerbaijan is high. As for the competition in our championship, the level difference between the teams is almost equal. Most of them single out the "Sabah" team. Anyway, they are playing in the European Cup. But there they mainly rely on legionnaires. Their local players are also good, but I wouldn't say they are better than us. Let's see how they will go to the end?! If we don't suffer from injuries, we can play well.
- What can you say about "Sumgait"? Are you satisfied with the club's claim?
- It is a very good team. The management is also very kind to us. For example, 2 days ago, we talked about the team's plans and perspectives at the dinner table. Long story short, we are a young, but at the same time, ambitious team. A week ago, a new American player joined the team, and two days ago, another one arrived. In fact, if we have to talk about our performance, I can safely say that we improved from game to game. In the first game with NTD-INDIGO in Khachmaz, the team lacked some self-confidence. We could have easily defeated "Khyrdalan" in the second game. We were a bit unlucky. Our mistakes in the last round had a negative impact on the result. We won our first victory in the game against "Sarhadchi". Although we defeated them by 4 points, the score could have been bigger. Actually, I really liked "Sarhadchi". The level of both foreign and local players is high. For example, I can mention the name of Jabrayil Akbarov among the locals.
- What can you say about the game you will play against "Neftchi" in the next round?
- "Neftchi" is a good team. But everything depends on us. If we play well, if the level of understanding on the stadium is high, the result will good. Of course, it's nice to play in front of local fans. I hope that Sumgait people will come to the arena and support us. We are looking forward to that game.
- You are actually from Jalilabad. After signing the contract with "Sumgait", did you go to your native region and meet your relatives?
- Yes, my father is from Alar village of Jalilabad. But I used to come here even before I was transferred to "Sumgait". When I was studying at school, I was in Azerbaijan during the summer holidays. The last time I was here was 5 years ago.
- It is interesting that the "Jalilabad" club, which represents the native region, also performs in our championship. "Sumgait" will also visit Jalilabad. How will you feel in that game?
- I have already met with the head coach of this team, Shahriyar Asgarov. I also talked with the captain of the team, Zaur Pashayev. Indeed, they were surprised when they found out that I was from Jalilabad. That game will be special to me no matter what. It will be an interesting meeting.
- Do you watch Euroleague and NBA? What teams do you support and who are your favourite basketball stars?
- Of course, I'm watching. If we talk about the Euroleague, I like Real Madrid very much. I also like Monaco's game. I would single out Mike James in particular. I also like "Srvena Zvezda" because of the atmosphere in its arena. I am a fan of Lebron James in the NBA. I grew up watching his games. For example, earlier basketball fans were fascinated by the games of Michael Jordan and later Kobe Bryant. Of course, these players have left a legacy behind. I also loved Lebron. The team I support is "Los Angeles Lakers". I have been with the Lakers since Kobe Bryant's time. After all, the Lakers are a basketball icon.