Qyntel Woods, Asecco Prokom Gdynia
January 12, 2010
|With its Euroleague survival on the line this week, Asecco Prokom Gydnia, will try to pull some magic from its hat one more time for the dedicated basketball fans in northeastern Poland. Prokom is shooting for its third Top 16 in four seasons when it hosts already-qualified upstart Khimki Moscow Region on Wednesday needing a victory and some help elsewhere to survive. If a magician is needed on-court in Gdynia, those Prokom fans will no doubt be looking in the direction of Qyntel Woods, a multi-talented forward who has emerged, in his first full season with Prokom, as the team's top scorer and rebounder. What's more, Woods ranks third in the entire Euroleague with 17.7 points per game and fifth in rebounds at 6.7 on average. Woods landed with Prokom this time last year to start playing with the team for the Top 16. Now he wants to help Prokom get there and do even better this time. "We play really well at home, so I think we have a good chance of winning the game," Woods told Euroleague.net. "We have to be focused and play the game our way. Defense will be the key, defense and rebounding."
Qyntel, congratulations on a great season so far. What has been the difference for you this year?
"I would say that I just grew as a person. I put my ego to the side and I try do what I can to help the team in any situation."
After getting to Prokom just a year ago, it seems you've been improving ever since. Why?
"I think I found my role, basically, and another thing that has helped is our coach. He hasn't put any limitations on my game. He tells me to do what I can when I can and doesn't make me play certain ways in certain situations. He lets me figure out my own way, and that helps a lot."
This is your third season in a row in the Eurolague since joining Olympiacos in 2007. What kind of learning experience has it been?
"When I first came to Europe, to be honest, I thought it was going to be easy. But the Euroleague is a tough league. Everybody can play and everybody has a different style of basketball. I just had to get used to playing against all the different types of players."
What are your thoughts on the big game this week with Khimki for a chance to reach the Top 16?
"We play really well at home, so I think we have a good chance of winning the game. We have to be focused and play the game our way. Defense will be the key, defense and rebounding."
Since both teams wear yellow, who will be the men in black for this game?
"We're going to be the men in yellow, because we're at home. But we're going to play like the men in black."
You are facing a very experienced Khimki players like Kelly McCarty, in what will be a critical matchup in this game. In key games like this, how do you prepare for someone like him?
"They already advanced, but they still want to win. We'll just come out and fight like it's our last time to play, because if we don't win, it is. We've got to go out and give it everything we've got."
Prokom has made some recent roster moves, like bringing in center Ratko Varda. What does it take to adjust to such changes for key games?
"It's real tough now. It's hard for him to learn all the plays. He's learning them, sure, but you can't do it all. We've got to be patient, come out and run the systems he knows and get him invovled. That means posting him up and getting him working post to wing."
In Prokom's other key game so far, you beat Real Madrid at home and you posted your Euroleague career highs. Will you take the same approach against Khimki?
"I'm definitely going to try to come out and play the same way I did against Madrid. I started that night with some easy fastbreak points, a couple of post moves. I'll try to build my game one step at a time instead of trying to win it all at once in the first quarter."
How much of this season's success do you stake on making the Top 16 this week?
"That was one of our main goals coming into the seasonm, to reach the Top 16. If we make it on Wednesday, that will be one goal made. Personally, that's what I've been striving for, to reach the Top 16, to get exposure to different teams and make a better situation for my career."