Kevin Bangus: “I want to go to Olympia Milan”

Kevin Bangus, let’s start from the beginning. You come from Canada, where hockey is the national sport, but you grew up in a basketball family. How did the fact that your father was a coach and that your mother also played on your passion for basketball?

“I grew up in and around the locker room because my parents played and my dad was a coach for many years, so basketball is something I’ve always been drawn to. I grew up in the gym, tried every sport, played volleyball, hockey, soccer, but I can play Basketball is non-stop. I never get tired of playing it, it is the sport that I love.”

As a player you are immediately successful. In Rowe, as a kid, I led the Ontario team to success. What memories do you have from that trip?

“It was a great experience, my family was with me, the trip went well, we tested the Italian cuisine and in the tournament we played against Lithuania, Serbia and France. There were a lot of good players. It was my international experience, it is indelible memories.”

There is another Italy in your past. She became the youngest player in the history of the Canadian national team in Trento. Gigi Datumi was on the pitch in Italy. Did you remember that?

“I remember the game; I didn’t remember Gigi was on the field. I also remember going in at the end of the race for a few minutes. At the time, Andrea Bargnani played with the Raptors. I grew up watching the raptors. It was my first three-point shot, in a transitional period. , facing Bargnani directly. I don’t even remember if I scored or not. At that point it didn’t matter, it was just being on the pitch at that age, I was 15, it was a great experience.”

Most Canadian players leave home early to play in the United States. You have chosen a different path.

“I stayed at home, in Canada, because a lot of kids who went to the States found bad school situations and there are always a lot of unknowns. In Canada, I knew what I had, I was in touch with a great sports coach, Matt Nicole, in Toronto. All What I needed was there. I thought it was the best way to prepare for college, to focus on myself, strength, conditioning, technique.”

Naz Metro Long is from Ontario, too. Did you know him?

“Of course, Nas and I grew up together, we come from the same area, we have similar roles. We played against each other and even together a few times. When we had the chance to meet up here, we talked a lot, and we do it so far, about how lucky we are to play together. It’s It’s amazing how our paths have evolved to intersect. I’m happy to play with him and I know he is.”

Your career at Gonzaga has been amazing. But are there any regrets about not being able to take the team to the Final Four?

“I often think about all the games we lost during March Madness, especially the ones we lost against Duke in my last year, the last time. But in the end, in March Madness, only one team finished the year with a win, while there are 67 others who are sad. I’ve been lucky. Enough to play that tournament and this whole experience was already successful. But I always dreamed of winning the national title and I didn’t succeed. Now let’s try to win one here.”

At one time, Gonzaga was first in the rankings for the first time in its history. What kind of feelings are there?

“Special. It was the first time in history and everyone in our community, all Zags fans everywhere, had special moments. We had a great team. So many different players who know how to do different things. Chemistry was exceptional, we beat a lot.” A strong team and we played well. No, it’s definitely a great memory.”

After Gonzaga, you were not selected in the draft, you left Gran Canaria. But your confidence is not affected.

“Honestly, even when I wasn’t cast, my confidence level remained high. More than anything, you motivated me. Facing my first season, in Gran Canaria, the first goal was to prove that I was a professional. And I was thrilled to be able to play ball Basketball as a profession. It has always been my dream to become a professional. And I really wanted to take my game to the next level. For me, every year since I became a professional, my obsession is to become the best player possible and get to the NBA. In Gran Canaria I realized I could do it” .

So, was Gran Canaria, playing in the European Cup, at a high level, a defining experience?

“It was a great year. I was fortunate enough to find a coach like Eto’o, who taught me a lot. It gave me the opportunity to play at a high level. At that time I didn’t realize when the European Cup and La Liga competition were competitive, especially for a junior boy. That level, and getting that experience is key. I had fun too, I was on an island, learned some Spanish, ate really well, and the weather was great. In my first year as a professional I couldn’t ask for more.”

Kaunas’ years were great too, especially when she reached the fourth final in the Euroleague.

“Kaunas was special, we were a great group, talented players who know how to play their roles well. We faced every game during the season convinced that we would win it. Those who weren’t in our locker room might be surprised, especially when we qualified for the fourth final, but we We were sure we could do it. Unfortunately we lost the semi-finals, didn’t win the title, but it was a good season, we won some great matches. It was my second year in the Euroleague, and it was nice to be able to show how much I deserved.”

In Kaunas, you had Brandon Davies among your teammates. What should we expect from the Pangos-Davies collection?

“Let’s see, I don’t know how special the combination of Brandon Davis and Kevin Bangus can be, but I’m happy to play with him. We feel comfortable on the pitch. I know him well when you play with him, you can expect only positive things to happen, whether it’s in defense or Offensive where he is gifted with talent. Playing with someone like him makes everything easier. I am glad he is back as a companion.”

In Barcelona, ​​you were in a big club, surrounded by high expectations. Also, during the second season, you were practically unable to play due to the injury. How hard is it to be outside?

“My experience in Barcelona was tough. Mentally and physically, because I was never in good health. Even when I played I always had problems with injuries that affected me and also lost some confidence. I never could do what I would normally do. It was difficult. But It was an experience that I learned a lot from. I’ve played with great champions and this has allowed me to learn and grow as a person and as a player. As angry as I was in that moment, I still try to take as much as I can from that experience.”

In St. Petersburg I was surprised by the Euroleague. It was another great season for you, you almost beat Barcelona in the qualifiers. Was it your best version?

“I don’t know if it was the best version of me as a player. I definitely enjoyed my time and played well most of the season. The players absorbed the coach’s philosophy easily and in the end a special season came out. I don’t know if it was the best, I think every year he had the opportunity to show something more. Or different, but I certainly was fine in St. Petersburg. ”

She has also met Billy Barron.

I did not know him, it happened in St. Petersburg. It is fun to play with him because he is a real shooter. But I also got to know him off the field. Our families get along well. Our children are of the same age. And both, too, I’d say we’re doing just fine. Billy is a good guy, I would love to play with him.”

I played for a few months in the NBA. Was it an experience you believed in, did you want a chance to say you did it or what?

“Going to the NBA was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. I understand that from the outside it might seem the opposite, but it has been a dream of mine since I was a kid. Playing at the highest level is a goal I always dreamed of achieving. I couldn’t explain what I was I know how to do it or play it as I wish, but I don’t want to take anything away from that experience. The Cavs and the people I met did their best. Trying was one of the best choices I’ve made, and I don’t regret it in any way.”

Now Milan: What drew you to Olympia?

“I’ve heard great things about Milan. It’s a great club, it’s a great city, but I think the people who have come to work here, the players who have scored are showing what you’re trying to do as a club. The success they’ve had in the last two years also shows they’ve gone in the right direction, and we have Goals to be achieved, so I’m really happy to be here, to play with this group of players. For a coach I spoke very nicely about the expectations of the team. We’ll see what we can do this year, but by doing our best every day on the pitch, it will follow That’s the rest.”

Basically you will have to replace Sergio Rodriguez. It is not an easy task.

“But I don’t really think in those terms. Chacho is Chacho. He’s a one-of-a-kind legendary player, while I’m just going to try to bring in Kevin Bangus and what I can do. In some things we’re different, in others we might be the same, but I don’t have to try to be.” Someone else, I just have to try to be myself and give my maximum contribution to the team. I hope it will be enough to move to the next level, towards new goals.”