Asia Challenge Interview: Russell Robinson
Russell Robinson took some time to speak to NBA D-League.com from the Philippines, where he is participating in the 2009 Asia Challenge with the NBA Generations team. Robinson, who won an NCAA title at Kansas in 2007-08, just spent his first pro season in the NBA D-League with the Reno Bighorns.
Can you talk about the exposure the NBA D-League provides, specifically in front of NBA scouts and now on the international stage here at the Asia Challenge?
Russell: "This is a great opportunity to travel, never know who's watching. This trip has made me a better player on and off the court."
How important has the NBA D-League been in developing your game?
Russell: "The NBA D-League has helped me adjust from college to pro style of play, its great to be able to learn from former players like Coach Humphries."
What other training have you done this summer to prepare for next season?
Russell: "I've been training with Billy Thomas and Jacque Vaughn at Kansas University this summer."
What was the reception for you like at the Opening Ceremony?
Russell: "The reception was really good, lots of sponsors and media, definitely enjoyed the dancing and culture at the reception in Manila. Its surprising how much they know about the NBA."
Before this trip, did you realize how much goes into an event like this? Appearances, interviews, ceremonies, etc.? How exciting is it to be a part of it all?
Russell: "I have experience from college with events like this one but its more intense. Definitely an exciting experience and memories that will last for a long time and I will always reflect on."
What's the most valuable thing you've gotten out of this experience? How will that experience/knowledge help you next season?
Russell: "The whole experience is inspiring, the fact that I can say I did it with guys I looked up to growing up and watching them play. Motivates me to reach my full potential. Being able to sit one-on-one with Kareem or Nique or Tim its a wealth of knowledge I can use for next season."
What's it like to play/practice with these NBA Legends?
Russell: "Even though the Legends are retired, they still have basketball savvy, great body language and intensity on the floor. They are really competitive!"
How do you think you'd fare against them in their prime?
Russell: "I'm competitive as well so I think I would have found a way to hold my own against them in their prime."
Have the NBA Legends been able to give you any career advice and maybe even coach you up at all?
Russell: "I talked to Tim who is a pg like myself about things I can work on. He gave me encouraging words and told me ito figure out what it is I want and to go get it and I could use him as a resource any time."
Have you spent any time with the NBA Legends off-court seeing sites, eating, hanging out, etc.?
Russell: "We've spent a lot of time eating at dinner, bus rides, lockerroom and shopping. Haven't talked to any of them about career transition or their businesses but plan on it before the trip ends."
What other international countries do you want to visit?
Russell: "This wasn't my first time traveling internationally. I've been to Paris, Milan. Belgium, Brussels and Dominican Republic. Its surprising how nice people are even in their economic situations may not be the best, they seem to have fun and happiness."
What differences (cultural, fans) have you noticed between Korea and Manila?
Russell: "The difference between Korea and the Philippines is they speak English, and have much more NBA knowledge than Korea. The Philippine players are more athletic as well. "