Davis Bertans is looking forward to the 2011 FIBA U19 World Championship, where he will have the chance to play in front of the always loud Latvian supporters, family and friends.
Bertans was named to the All-Tournament team in the 2010 FIBA Europe U18 Championship in which the Latvians took bronze, but the player doesn’t think about the achievements of the past and highlights that the most important thing is to take the game by game approach in the upcoming championship.
The rising star from Latvia, who ended up as at San Antonio Spurs at the 2011 NBA Draft a couple of days ago, makes it clear – it’s all about the team’s success.
Here is a nice interview by FIBA with Bertans after Latvia’s 79-61 victory against the Canadian U19 team to talk about how special playing at home is and the World Championship and the Thursday’s NBA draft.
FIBA: How could you describe your form at the moment?
Bertans: Not so good, it was a hard season and I didn’t have time to rest and I’m also a bit hurt. It’s not an injury, nothing serious and I can play through it, but it has been bothering me a little. I feel like some extra rest would help, but this is a very important championship and I think I have to help the team. I’m ready to play.
FIBA: How special is it that the World Championship will be in Latvia?
Bertans: This is going to be really special, because all of the relatives, friends can come and watch, so we’ll have to show them that we’re fighting all the time, that we just won’t give up.
FIBA: Have you looked into the other teams participating in the World Championship. Is there anyone you’ll want to watch out for?
Bertans: There are a couple of teams that we played against in the preparation progress. There are two very good guys from Brazil. We played against them, so we’ll be able to watch some video. Actually, I don’t know a lot about the talents in our group. For example Chinese Taipei, I didn’t even know they played basketball there [laughs].
FIBA: What are your expectations before the championship?
Bertans: Individually, I don’t have any expectations, I just want to play and win. If I score five points and the team wins, I’m happy about it, because I have a contract in Ljubljana and I don’t have to prove too much to anyone.
FIBA: How do you feel about the draft and where you ended up?
Bertans: I’m really happy that it was the San Antonio Spurs, because it’s a great team for international players and they always try to get the players, who they draft, into the team.
With more exposure to tougher competitions, Bertans will only improve his game and overall skills. He should be a nice addition to the Spurs roster in a year or two.