Joe G's Shootaround Notebook
We’re talking ‘bout shootaround …
Starting Sergey ... For Thursday night’s preseason contest, Cavalier fans are likely going to get their first (extended) look at rookie Sergey Karasev, who’s expected to get the start in place of Dion Waiters, who’s out with a right hip contusion.
Sergey’s entire journey – from Draft night in New York to his return trip to Cleveland a few weeks later to his recent overnight junket to the Bahamas for his VISA – has been a whirlwind. Now, the 19-year-old gets thrown into the fire at The Q against Detroit.
Karasev took care of his VISA issues in the Bahamas earlier this week. He arrived in the evening, went to the embassy the following morning, got his VISA in the afternoon and still squeezed in a workout before he returned to the States. “All the team has practice, (so) I don’t want to just relax,” said Karasev. “No beach, no nothing. Just think about basketball.”
The young Russian’s had a crazy summer, competing in the University Games in Russia right after the Draft and then Euro Championships after his stop in Cleveland in early July. In the latter tournament, he was coached by his dad, Vasily, who was the Russian national team’s point guard from 1993 through 2003.
He talked about the similarities and differences in his dad’s coaching style vs. Mike Brown’s.
“Basketball is similar everywhere with every coach,” explained Karasev. “You must work, you must play with your heart, play defense and don’t be stupid on offense, don’t be selfish. Make your teammates better.”
The way they’re different? Practices in Europe last about 90 minutes. In Independence, sometimes the team can spend up to four hours in the gym.
And every kid who’s had their father for a coach knows that it’s not always easy.
“Yeah, he was tougher on me than the other players and the other players said that to me,” smiled the St. Petersburg native.
But that tough love is one of the things Coach Brown likes about the youngster. So far, the game hasn’t been too big for Sergey.
“He’s either not in awe or he’s faking it really well,” said Coach Brown. “There’s a certain level of confidence that he has about himself and in his game that rubs off on me the right way as a coach. It makes me have confidence in him putting him out there. I like Sergey’s demeanor.”
Though still in his teens, Karasev has competed at a high level in Russia – one of the toughest leagues in Europe.
“He’s not afraid – he’ll stick his nose in and mix it up, especially on the weak side,” praised Brown.
Before shootaround, Karasev had to be reminded by Kyrie Irving to wear the starter’s (white) jersey and not his regular red. And tonight, he’ll have his name announced with the rest of the starters.
“I’d like to take a look at him,” explained Brown. “I want to win every game, but the way our rotations are right now are not how we would do it during the regular season. So I’m taking a look at different guys – not only different guys individually, but different combinations.”
Tonight, the opportunity is there for the young Russian.
Listen to Sergey Karasev and Coach Brown as they spoke with the media following Thursday's shootaround.