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Francisco Elson: "I hope to learn a lot from Tim Duncan"
by HoopsHype / July 21, 2006

How do you feel about starting at center next to Tim Duncan?
Chris Smith (Boulder, Colorado)

Francisco Elson: I think the Spurs have a great organization and team. I look forward to
playing next to Tim and supporting the team the best I can. I have watched him for many years and he is a phenomenal player. I hope to learn a lot from him. I want to bring a lot of energy and hard work to help the team win a championship.

San Antonio had Nesterovic last season and now they have you. What's the main thing that separates you from Rasho as a player? And do you think the team has taken a step back by losing Nazr Mohammed too?

FE: Both Rasho and Nazr are good centers. I'm probably not much of a banger like those guys, but I feel I bring a high level of energy and shoot the ball well from the outside. On the defensive end, I feel I can provide the same intensity and block shots. I will just do whatever I can to help the team win.

What will you remember the most about your time with the Nuggets?

FE: I had a wonderful time in Denver. It’s a nice city and the fans are great. I spent my first three NBA years there so I will remember the whole experience.

I hear that you and Nenê were really close friends in Denver. How was your relationship with him during all these seasons? And what do you think about the episode in practice between Nenê and Kenyon Martin?
Alfredo da Costa Lauria (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil)

FE: Nenê and I are still friends. He is young and will have a long career in the league. He has a lot of potential. You know things happen in practice when guys are playing hard. It's just part of being competitive and it happens on all teams.

Was being a free agent a nerve-wracking situation for you? How's been the last week since you signed an offer sheet with the Spurs?
Jerry Sandmann (Orlando, Florida)

FE: I just wanted to get the whole thing over with and move on with my life. It's tough not knowing exactly where you are going to be for the next years of your life. I am happy that there was a high level of interest for me around the league and am very happy with my current situation. I think we have the opportunity to win a lot of games and the NBA championship.

Coming from a small country, who guided you to the USA?
Robert (Newark, Delaware)

FE: A scout from the Netherlands got me to play in a JC in Texas (Kilgore College) where I guided myself through by hard work and dedication! Which paid off in the long run.

I was wondering what the influence was of watching Rik Smits play for the Pacers. Was he a role model for you?
Ivo Luijendijk (Utrecht, Netherlands)

FE: I played with Rik Smits on the National Team one time but he retired shortly after that. I admired my older brother who was my inspiration to continue playing.

What do you feel is the most important reason why Holland is currently underachieving at the international level and would you be willing to play for the National Team in the upcoming matches?
Edwin Geertsema (Dinxperlo, Netherlands)

FE: I have played with the National Team for many years now. We have some talent here, but they need the
experience too. They need to play more on there club teams.

I read an article in a California newspaper that a fellow by the name of Mohammed Muqtar was a big influence to you while at Berkeley. I also read in he was a big influence on Phoenix Sun great Kevin Johnson as well. Is that true? And if so, what exactly does he do that helps players there so much?
Nav Mundi

FE: Mohammed looked out for me when I was at Cal and we have remained good friends. I have kept in touch with all the people I was close to in college. Yes, Mo has also been good friends with Kevin Johnson since he was in college.

One skill you have that most centers usually aren't very good at is stealing the ball. Where and how did you become so good at it?

FE: I try and anticipate what other players are going to do by playing the passing lanes. Stealing the ball is about having good instincts, which come with playing a lot and recognizing how different players pass the ball. It’s a gamble, though, because sometimes you get it wrong and can get beat for a basket.

What are you going to do when you are no longer able to make money playing basketball?
Victoria Ovin, (Buenos Aires, Argentina)

FE: Having good financial planning and making good investments are important. I have made some good investments to set up my future after basketball. I am an investor with other NBA guys in Flex-Power. I'm not worried because I have a good group of smart people around me and will have various opportunities. I also think it's important to get your college education. I have a degree from one of the top universities in the United States (Berkeley).

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