Alec Peters is playing his second season of professional basketball and getting to do so for one of the world's most-famous clubs. CSKA Moscow's forward will surely have ups and downs as a Turkish Airlines EuroLeague rookie, though he has the mindset to work hard now for better results in the future. As he travels that path, Peters has agreed to occasionally blog for EuroLeague.net and share what his mindset is as he travels across the Old Continent for the first time, adjusts to European basketball and tries to help CSKA fight for the title.
The EuroLeague is completely new territory for me, but I am enjoying it. I am positively surprised with how I have adjusted to life over here. Moscow is a great city and I think that the situation I am here with CSKA is as good as you can find in Europe. This is the first time that I have ever been to Europe, so I am seeing new places as we travel. It is great to part of such a prestigious club in a league like this. It is really cool for me. If you step back and look at it, I am really enjoying it.
I would say that when I first arrived, adjusting off the court was one of the most difficult things. I just tried to adjust to not being able to read things and having difficulties talking to people who didn't know English. That was probably the most difficult part of it - probably trying to go to a grocery store and deciding what foods to buy and having to use Google translate for everything, stuff like that.
"I think our defense is very underrated in terms of what we are able to do this year."
Once we started the season, I also needed a little bit of adjustment on the court. This is only my second year of professional basketball. Any competition that we had, I am still learning how the game is played. I think I have started to get into a little bit of a rhythm for myself. Hopefully, in the rest of the EuroLeague season, I will continue to get better and better and finish it strong.
I can say that CSKA is a top-class organization and one of the best clubs, year after year in Europe. I am very fortunate to be a part of this, especially coming from a long year in the G-League and the NBA, to be in a situation like this is very rare for that to happen, and I feel very blessed.
Our last game against Olympiacos was a tough-fought one, low scoring for us, but during the whole game, we had the feeling that we would be able to pull it out. I think our defense is very underrated in terms of what we are able to do this year, especially in this game, when we had Nando De Colo not healthy enough to give us what he usually gives us. We were able to win that game with defense and winning it was very special for us, very important.
Sometimes you have those games in which things are not clicking the way you want them to click. You have to find different ways, have different spots throughout the year when you need to make a big run and hold them back. That happened against Darussafaka and also against Olympiacos.
I am trying to enjoy things and see as much as I can when we play on the road and have time. At the same time, I'm there to play basketball, I'm there for business, so I can't get too uptight about not sightseeing, but hopefully, as we travel I'll find places that I want to go back to in the off-season or further on down the road for vacation purposes. We will be playing in all the places people tell me are the most beautiful places in Europe, so I'm looking forward to the experiences.
"The atmospheres at some of the places we play are unbelievable."
The atmospheres at some of the places we play are unbelievable. It's not like anything I've experienced in my first year in the NBA. Being able to go to Maccabi Tel Aviv and have the crowd be as crazy as that and Grab Canaria, too, the crowd was absolutely amazing. That is something I look forward to night in, night out in the EuroLeague. How crazy is the crowd going to be? Can we play well along with that?
I had a little bit of an idea what the EuroLeague playing level would be like from watching the games on TV throughout college and last year. People can sometimes forget that there are some pretty freakin' good players over here. A lot of players from the EuroLeague can go to the NBA and make a big impact. Every game we play against guys that you know are some of the best players in the world. It's really cool to be able to share the court with some of these guys, especially the guys on my team. It's my second season as a professional basketball player and I take it for granted sometimes, but it's really special what I'm able to do. If I have a bad night or I struggle, people are here to remind me that this is a long process, it's a long season. There are a lot of games left to play against a lot of good teams and I know my impact is going to come in a big way.
Kyle Hines has been helpful in helping me settle in. He's a great dude. Any questions I have about anything, I go to him first. He's always smiling. He always has the answer, because he was in this situation his first year here. He and his family have been super helpful for me and my girlfriend. To have guys like that who have been here for a while, especially him, Nando, Cory Higgins, those guys who have been in Moscow for enough time, it's really nice to go to them and they have been helpful.
Our next game is in Milan and I will get a chance to see Mike James; We spent a few months together last season in Phoenix and got to know each other really well. I got to see him in the preseason; we were in one of the same preseason tournaments as Milan and I got to see him in the hotel. Mike is Mike. That's what I always tell people. He's a great player. He's been playing so well this season. What he's doing for Milan right now is almost scary. I am very much looking forward to seeing him and playing against him and seeing who will have bragging rights at the end of the day.