Monday, January 26, 2009

Where Are They Now?: Ilian Evtimov Interview

We recently caught up with Ilian Evtimov, a fan favorite who was a member of many very good Wolfpack teams of the not so distant past. We asked him a few questions about his whereabouts and about the recent state of Wolfpack basketball. He also provided us with a few pretty cool pictures that I'm sure you'll enjoy. And yes, that is him playing against former Pack star Marcus Melvin.

WOLFPACK HOOPS: What are you up to these days? We hear you're still playing basketball...hows that going?

Ilian Evtimov: I am currently playing basketball in Frankfurt Germany. It is going well... I am doing what I love. This is my second season here and I really like the city.

WH: What do you feel the difference is in playing in college and in Europe, as far as the speed of the game, and the fan support of the teams?
IE: The shot clock is 24 seconds in Europe. This is a big difference from college's 35. Everything in professional basketball is quicker. The plays, the time to make decisions...However, college players are physically quicker. I know, it is a bit contrary to itself. The game is played faster in the head now, and college was more about quickness physically. As far as the fans and organizations, I have to say that at NC State, the fan support and organization of the team was at the highest level possible. The difference in Europe is that it depends on teams. We do not have 5 managers to rebound for you, or 4 assistant coaches including the video coordinator... Everything in professional basketball in Europe is more generalized.
The fans are different in each country. The craziest ones are in Italy and Spain, and of course Greece. You could compare those to the Cameron Crazies. In Germany, the fans are not as crazy. We have good fan support however. Our gym capacity is 5,000 and it is usually full. Some gyms are smaller, and others bigger. But we will not get the 19,400 spectators we get at the RBC center against Carolina or Duke.

WH: Do you still keep track of NC State Basketball? What are you thoughts on it?
IE: I keep track of NC State basketball as much as I can. Anthony King from Miami is on my team, and we have other guys from North Carolina so we always keep track of all the ACC games. I think State has good talent and can achieve a lot. The ACC is the best conference in the US and any team can beat anyone. I played with some of the guys on the team like Ben, Brandon, and Courtney. So I keep up with them ...

WH: You were a fan favorite and a very smart player while you were here....any chance you'll come back to help coach, or coach your own team someday?

IE: Coaching has always been the thing that I want to do once I am finished playing. I have seen many different coaches throughout my career. Sometimes I think it is unfortunate that kids don't get taught the basics at an early age, instead they work on dunking or their cross overs. I also really believe it is imperial to be a player in order to be a good coach and understand the psychology of the players. I plan to come back to North Carolina after my career and see what doors are open in order to start coaching.

WH: Right now at State, our team's confidence seems to be down. Our fans seem to not really believe in this team's ability to win games, even when we have a lead. Do you feel like the attitude and outlook of the fans ever seep into the locker room, or bring down the team's morale?...Or do the players honestly not worry about how the fan base feels?
IE: In basketball, it is important to keep outside influences outside the team. Things like criticism from fans, friends, and the like, the media (good or bad), and other things that can influence the play of the team, needs to be kept away. The self confidence to win those games has to come from the team, because at the end of the day, they will be the ones on the court performing and winning. It is the job of the players individually and collectively to do this task. But the fans need to understand that it doesn't hurt anyone more than the players and coaching staff to lose a game. Reason is the fans have no idea how much work is put behind closed doors, and some of the sacrifices that have been made. No one likes to lose. Especially not the guys fighting on the court.

WH: We all at Wolfpack Hoops want to let you know that you were one of our favorite players to watch, and we know the fans feel the same way. Is there anything you would like to say to the Wolfpack Nation?

IE: The road is bumpy, but that is the only way to appreciate the goodness when it comes and when it goes. If it was easy, it wouldn't be interesting. So support the players throughout good and bad times, because they are playing to win. The fans are great at NC State, some of the best there is.

Again, we at Wolfpack Hoops would like to thank Ilian for giving a great interview and providing us with some awesome pictures. It's great to know we have people like him representing our university all over the world! And FYI...the picture below is very interesting. It's Ilian in the background with his brother shooting a hook shot over none other than Kris Lang.


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