Doron Perkins, BC Donetsk
September 24, 2012
| One of the most recognizable faces for Ukrainian champion BC Donetsk as it heads to Italy for the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds is Doron Perkins. The point guard was on the cusp of stardom a year-and-a-half ago as he led Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv to the verge of the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Final Four. A knee injury struck him down in the playoffs and Perkins was forced to watch Maccabi lose the Euroleague title game from the bench. He recovered in time to join potential qualifying rounds opponent Pallacanestro Cantu during last season and play a handful of games at PalaDesio, the host site of the play-in games. Now Perkins says he is back to his pre-injury self and hoping to return to the Euroleague with a third team. In this Euroleague.net interview leading up to the qualifying rounds games, Perkins focuses on what it will take to get back to the Euroleague. "We are doing all we can to be a good team together, to play well together," Perkins said. "We know we won't have a lot of preparation. That's why we need to focus on our game, to be the best team we can be right now."
Hello Doron. For starters, are you fully recovered from your injury and back to the player that thrilled Euroleague fans and drove opponents crazy when you were with Maccabi?
"Yes, I am fully recovered, 100%. I really wanted to play at the same level. It was a long process, because watching everybody play when I wasn't able to do it was hard."
Is there anything that you went through during your recovery that has made you a different, stronger or better player today?
"I would say that everything has helped me, the whole process. I had to work very hard. It was pretty hard to return to action, but I love basketball and I didn't have a choice."
What can you tell us about your new team, BC Donetsk?
"We have a good team! It is hard to say because we have only been practicing together as a full team for a couple of weeks. I can say we are doing all we can to be a good team together, to play well together."
How has the preparation period been? Which Donetsk players have surprised you the most so far?
"The preparation has been pretty hard. We have worked very hard. Coach has been focusing on our physical conditioning. Nobody has really impressed me much because we still have a long season ahead of us to become better. It is hard to say until we start playing. We had some pre-season games, but it is early to say. We will see what happens."
Tell us a little about your relationship with D’Or Fischer… This is the fourth season in as many different countries (Bree in Belgium, Oldenburg in Germany and Tel Aviv in Israel) that you guys are teaming up. Was that planned this summer?
"No, that was not planned at all. I didn't know that he would come to Donetsk until I was already signed and working out with the team. That's when I heard there was interest in signing him. I am happy that he is here. We are older now, so I hope we can use our wisdom and play together even better than we have in the past. I love playing with him. He plays hard and always wants to win, no matter what it is, games or practice. That's why we played pretty well together. Hopefully we can keep doing that, because we have a lot of good players on this team."
Speaking of Fischer, it appears that with him, Dairius Songaila, Ivan Radenovic and Kaloyan Ivanov, Donetsk should have a significant size and depth advantage over Le Mans in the paint. As the point guard, is that something you will seek to exploit?
"Well, It is not really up to me, but up to our coach. I know that he likes to put the ball inside. And yes, I think we have an advantage there and have to use it by playing down low. Other than D'or, we don't have a big five, but a lot of power forwards that can play really well. We have to make it work to our advantage."
What are your thoughts on your matchup at point guard with Khalid El-Amin?
"I haven't looked at it until now. We have been focused on working on our game, but I am sure I will have time to study him. We still have some pre-season games to play and only after that, we will focus on Le Mans."
To reach the Turkish Airlines Euroleague via the qualifying rounds, Donetsk will need to win three games in as many days. Is that something that you keep in the back of your mind going into the game against Le Mans?
"Yes, we think about that, but we haven't focused too much on the Euroleague Qualifying Rounds. We can't control that; we don't know who we will face other than Le Mans. Even if we win the first game, we won't know about our next day opponent until we are done with that. Once we get to Desio, we will focus on Le Mans, prepare for them and if we move to the next game, we know we won't have a lot of preparation. That's why we need to focus on our game, to be the best team we can be right now."
How are you and the rest of the Donetsk players dealing with the pressure of a win-or-go-home game so early in the season?
"I don't think there is any pressure. I know this is a great chance for us to play in the Euroleague and this is what everybody wants to achieve, but not playing it is not the end of the world. We still play in the Eurocup, plus we have to play in the VTB League and the Ukrainian League. We have to play hard and see what happens. I don't really think we have a lot of pressure and that might help us out."
You spent the second half of last season playing for Cantu. What kind of advantage does that give you considering that the qualifying rounds are held at PalaDesio?
"It is an advantage, because it is one of my favorite gyms to play in, even though I only played there two or three times. I like that gym. I look forward to playing there, just not for Cantu this time. It will be fun to play there again."