On a team where pressure or inexperience can never become excuses, Lior Eliyahu has already demonstrated that he plans to use neither in his debut season with Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv. The 21-year-old power forward showed flashes of brilliance during Maccabis participation in the NBA Europe Live Tournament and will try to keep doing the same as one of the Euroleague's promising newcomers in 2006-07. With his first Euroleague regular season game coming soon, Eliyahu is only thinking about continuing Maccabi's tradition of success. "I'm looking forward to everything... I want to win and to give as much as I can the team," Eliyahu told Euroleague.net. "Individual statistics and awards are not something I can concern myself with now." For fans across Europe who don't yet know Lior Eliyahu, tell us what skills you bring to the game that make you stand out?
"We'll have to see what I can do at this level. Maccabi is a great team and with a lot of talented players. I want to fit in, do what the coach says and help bring the team to the level it's used to." Your preseason schedule has already seen Maccabi face a few Euroleague powers. What is the biggest difference that you have noticed about the level of the game in the Euroleague?
"The Euroleague is at a much higher level both professionally and physically. I think that I've arrived at Maccabi and at the Euroleague at the right age – not too young and not too old – to succeed at this level." Heading into the season, it appears that you will be the youngest player in Coach Spahija's rotation. What changes – mentally and physically – does a young player need to make to adjust to playing consistently at this high level?
"First of all, my outlook. Playing in the Euroleague isn't the level I'm used to. I've also got to prepare my body differently. To develop my strength properly over the course of the season to fit the needs of the team." What are you most looking forward to about the upcoming Euroleague season?
"The first Euroleague game against Unicaja. I'm looking forward to everything, but that's the first step and I try to see things as going step-by-step. I want to win and to give as much as I can to the team." You are joining the team as it goes through a bit of a makeover, but expectations in Tel Aviv are always high. What are your individual goals for the upcoming season?
"I have a year or two here with Maccabi that are just for the team and not for me. My only goals now are to blend in well, become a part of the rotation and to help the team win. Individual statistics and awards are not something I can concern myself with now."