RIGA (FIBA U19 World Championship) – Despite having just lost the semifinal of the FIBA U19 World Championship, Russian Sergey Karasev was not dwelling on the loss with thoughts already turning to tomorrow’s bronze medal match.
FIBA: Obviously the feeling is not great right now but at the same time can you be proud of what your team has achieved here?
Karasev: It’s very sad. Our team was not good today. Now we are going to watch Argentina and Serbia play then watch the video and talk with the coaches. I think tomorrow we will be another team because tomorrow will be a chance for the Russians to win a medal.
FIBA: Today you fought to the end and never gave up. Does that give you confidence going into tomorrow?
Karasev: Yeh, today we just started really badly and we were down 30 points really early on. But in the second half we cut it back to 12 points. I think now we might just relax and go to the doctors and have a massage because tomorrow is a very important game for Russia and for everybody so we must just relax.
FIBA: It has been a big rollercoaster ride for Russia here in Latvia. How have the emotions been this week?
Karasev: You should have been in the hotel when we watched the Argentina match. We watched the first half on the fiba livescoring then we found somewhere to watch it on the internet. When they made the three point shot in the last seconds everybody just started jumping and running around the hotel then when they won it was fantastic. We waited at the hotel to say thank you very much to Argentina because it was fantastic that we will go through to the quarterfinal. We had a little little chance and Argentina gave it to us.
FIBA: For you personally, how do you think this tournament has gone?
Karasev: I think today I did not play well. In the first half I did not do anything. Maybe it was something on my mind. Maybe I was nervous. Now I just must work and keep my mind and work work work everyday if I want to be a good player and play in Europe or in the NBA. I must just work. I can not stop now.
FIBA: Do you think you have done enough here to impress the scouts watching?
Karasev: We will see. Maybe someone will approach me but if they do not it is not the end of the world for me. After one week I will go the U18 European Championship so I must just focus on that now.
FIBA: A lot of the players you will play in Poland, you also came up against here. How do you think your team will do down there?
Karasev: I think our team will have a good chance down there. There are good teams like Poland, Spain and Lithuania but we have good players and lots of us have been playing here together. I think we will have a good chance to go to the final of that championship.
FIBA: Who do you think you might play in that final?
Karasev: Hopefully it will be Lithuania.