Ersan Ilyasova Q&A

Ersan Ilyasova Q&A catches up with the 21-year-old forward
by Adam Green / special to

Ersan Ilyasova was drafted by the Bucks with the 36th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. He currently plays in Europe, but the Bucks still hold his rights. (Getty)
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June 19, 2008

MILWAUKEE -- Ersan Ilyasova played for AXA FC Barcelona in the 2007-08 season where he averaged 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 18 minutes of actions over 22 games of Euroleague action. His club also advanced to the Spanish League finals, thanks to 15-point, 18-rebound game from Ilyasova, but were unable to take the title after being swept by Tau Ceramica three games to none. chatted with Ersan about his time in Spain, the Bucks and the Olympics after he worked out at the Bucks training center on Thursday.

How was your season with Barcelona?

It was good. At the beginning I didn’t play a lot because the coach over there didn’t play new guys a lot. It took some time to adjust. It was hard the first couple months, it was a new language – I hadn’t learned Spanish yet, but I took classes.

In the middle of the season we got a new coach who gave me an opportunity to play and at the finish of the season I played well. It was a good season for us. We made it to the championship, but lost in the end.

What are your summer plans?

I’m here right now because I have a house in Mequon. I’ve been working out and meeting the new coaches. I like them a lot. I think they can teach me lots of new things. It’s great for me to work out here in the summer. We will see what will happen next year. My agent is working on it now, so we will see.

Did you go to Spain trying to improve certain areas of your game or were you just looking for experience?

I went to Europe to get more playing time. A player can do more to improve by playing in games and not sitting on the bench. I got minutes there and more practice, they practice twice a day. I thought it worked well for me to improve my game both inside and outside. I feel better about it now.

Did you follow the Bucks last year and what did you think of their season?

I did. I followed them through the Internet and all the time. They started off pretty good at the beginning of the season. But then the lost a lot of games, close games. It was a frustrating year, I spoke with the guys. It’s tough when you lose lots of games.

What teams will be contenders in the Olympics?

It’s hard to say. My favorite team is Lithuania, they’re really good. Russia is also very good. Spain has a lot of guys who could play in the NBA. Those games are going to be fun to watch.

How does the international game compare to the NBA?

It’s a different style of basketball. When I came here I had to adjust to the NBA and now when I go to Europe there are different rules and referees look at things different. It was different.

Playing in the Spanish League there are lots of fans and it’s like the NBA. It was a good experience, but I prefer playing in the NBA because the organization is much better. They take care of the players.