| Power forward Shaun Stonerook of Montepaschi Siena has been one of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague's emblematic players over the last half-decade. A defensive force, Stonerook has led the Euroleague in steals twice while helping his team to reach a pair of Final Four appearances and third-place finishes. Last season, Stonerook had the second-highest rebound total in a Final Four game with 14 in the semifinal against eventual champion Panathinaikos. But when his Fan Mail arrived from all around the continent this week, there was a second subject that people wanted to ask Stonerook about: his hair. And they asked just in the nick of time, too, because Stonerook says he could go back to short hair soon. Even if he doesn't know how much time his long locks will last, Stonerook knows where he wants them to be swinging soon: at another final Four. "Another Italian championship would be great, but I'd trade one or even two of those for a Euroleague title. The Euroleague is the best of the best over here, and you always want to win the best competition you can," Stonerook said in one Fan Mail answer. "I am getting old and my chances are getting fewer, so to win the Euroleague and kind of complete everything I've done in Europe, that's something I would like to have."
Hello Shaun! This is Mario of Siena. We love you here, man. I always wondered about your haircut. Has it always been like that? Why that great look? Thanks a lot!
Mario Cimbrellini, Siena
"When I was young, I had really short hair. Then, my first year playing over here, in Belgium, one of my teammates one day just said, 'Let's grow our hair out'. He thought of it, but I said, 'No problem'. So it just started growing out and the style just kind of stuck with me. It was just one of those let's-try-it things, and it has stayed with me now for 12 years. But the truth is that I always had real short hair before."
Shaun, what do remember about your days in Antwerp? Do you keep in touch with your buddies John O’Connell and Otis Hill?
Marc - Antwerp
"I had a great time in Belgium. It was my first experience in Europe, so everything was new and different and enjoyable. As for my friends, that was 12 years ago, but I talk with John O'Connell occasionally. He's is a cop now in New York. Otis, I haven't heard from in a long time, so I am not so sure what's up with him. I hope he's still playing somewhere."
Hey Shaun! Just got to see you and your team the other day. How important is to have the same players in the team over and over again?
Dmitry Surovtsev - Kazan, Russia
"It's very important. It helps a lot when you don't have to learn new players every season and how to play with them. Once you get familiar with your teammates, know where they do things best, where shooters like to shoot or how someone likes to play, it makes everything a lot easier. You always see teams put together with a lot of talent, but a lot of times they struggle at the beginning as they learn to play with each other. Having the same guys shortens that learning curve and let's a team get better quicker."
Shaun, what do you like best about Italy? Have you learnt to cook Italian food and pasta? Good luck,
Marco Bertoglio - Italy
"I like the people in Italy. The people, the food, the culture: there are a lot of things I like. Yeah, I can cook a little bit. Pasta's not too hard. Risotto, I can make. But I have to be honest; my girlfriend does most that. She's Italian, so she does most of the cooking. Unless it's something for the grill. If it goes on a grill, I do that."
Hello Shaun! I heard you are friends with Sofoklis Schortsanitis! How do you get along with Sofo and who are your best friends in European basketball?
Dimitris Stefanidis – Greece
"I played on same team as Sofo back in Cantu, eight or nine years ago, back when he was 17 or 18 years old. That's how I got to know him. He's a great guy, funny and fun to be around. My best frineds not on my team are former teammats I had: Terrel McIntyre, Bootsy Thornton, Ben Eze, David Hawkins, Henry Domercant, guys like that, former teammates from wherever, Cantu and Siena."
Shaun, you have been to the Final Four twice. After so many titles in Italy, is the Euroleague your main goal now?
Alfonso Garcia - Spain
"Yeah. For sure, another Italian championship would be great, but I'd trade one or even two of those for a Euroleague title. The Euroleague is the best of the best over here, and you always want to win the best competition you can. And the Euroleague is it. To be close two times is great, but it hurts not winning it all. It makes you want to go back and win one. I am getting old and my chances are getting fewer, so to win the Euroleague and kind of complete everything I've done in Europe, that's something I would like to have."
Hey Shaun! Hello from Israel. Have you ever considered to play in Israel - especially in Maccabi - throughout your career? We would love a player like you in here!
Gal Rosenberg - Israel
"No, actually, Maccabi has never been one of my options. I had a few options here and there in recent years, but mostly I have been under contract with Siena and happy to renew here. There have been other options, but not Maccabi, although it's club with great tradition and with great fans, so if I wasn't playing here, I am sure I would enjoy playing there."
Hello, Mr. Stonerook. Which is your favourite place to play basketball in Europe, as a visitor, not on the home team?
Dragan Milojevic - Belgrade
"In the past, I really enjoyed playing in your town against Partizan. It's a tough place to play, very tough. The crowd there is incredible, so loud and stuff like that. I know they have changed gyms for some games, so it's a little different now, maybe, but it's still a great city to play in. The fans appreciate basketball and know basketball: they are great. Outside of Siena, it's one of the best places to play."
Do you think to shave your head someday before you retire?
Reynaldo Lascas, Portugal
"Well, I have on little piece of hair left up front on my head, but when that goes, I'll have to shave it. So I am definitely thinking about it. When that leaves, yeah, I'll have to shave it and look different to everyone. It will definitely happen sooner or later. Sooner THAN later, I should say."