HoopsHype.com Interviews

Jose Manuel Calderon: "I'm very confident"
by Jordi Vila / September 19, 2005

You started the Eurobasket with great confidence in a very good game against Serbia-Montenegro. But things didn't go that well against Israel...

Jose Manuel Calderon: In the last game, the whole team played bad. I’m the point guard of the team and I have to make the team play well. I don’t have to score. There are days when I have to score more, but it doesn’t bother me. Right now, the only thing I care about is my team finished first. But I can play a lot better.

How do you feel about Spain’s options in the quarter-finals?

JMC: The team is very happy to finish in the first place and ready to play the quarter-finals. We can face two very difficult opponents, but we can beat both. You have to be as optimistic as possible.

Do you have any favorite opponent?

JMC: No. Italy or Croatia... I don’t care.

Is this the best moment in your career coming off a very good season with Tau Ceramica and now going to the NBA?

JMC: Yes, it is a very good moment for me for sure. But you have to try to win, the other stuff is not important.

Unlike many other players, you were patient in Europe before making the jump to the NBA. You became a key player in Europe first. Will that be important in your first NBA season?

JMC: I hope so. I made the jump because I thought it was the right moment. I thought about it a lot and there is a team that took a chance on me and I want to prove it was a good decision.

In the game against Serbia-Montenegro, you dominated an NBA player Marko Jaric.

JMC: I don’t care who's in front. I don’t even realize about those things. It’s the same to play against Jaric than to play against the guard from Latvia or Israel. I just want my team to win. I don’t look who is in front of me – only because of the scouting.

You had many options in the NBA. Why the Toronto Raptors?

JMC: They were very interested in me. I was the first option for them. They made it very easy for me to sign the contract. When a team does that, you feel they want you to go there. It is a very good option.

You are a very athletic player and that's a great positive in the NBA. But what else do you expect to bring to the team on the court?

JMC: I don’t know and I don’t want to think about it. I'm focused on this Eurobasket. When it's September 25, I’ll start to think about it.

But what do you think will be the biggest adjustment for you?

JMC: I can’t tell you if I’ll be in good shape for the NBA or not. I'll know that once I'm in the league. I can’t talk about how I will feel until I’m there. I have to be there, practice with my new teammates and start to play.

Have you asked Pau Gasol or Raul Lopez for advice?

JMC: I have spoken with them, but I think the most important thing is to have patience. The first year is going to be difficult, there are going to be ups and downs. But I’m very confident. I signed for three years and the team is going to be patient with me and that’s the most important thing.

What do you think the Raptors expect from you in your first season?

JMC: They know me as a player and they want me to play like I’ve played before. They don’t want me to change. For sure, I will have to change some aspects. There are different rules, a different language and culture... But I have to adapt as quickly as possible.

Jordi Vila is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com

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