Eurobasket had the pleasure of sitting with Aaron Cel (203-F-87) of PGE Turow Zgorzelec.
How did you become professional basketball player? I have always played with my friends. When I was 13, my aunt took me to NBA game. It was Chicago Bulls playing it had a huge impact on me. When we got back home, I asked her to enroll me to the local teams trainings. I remember I said: I want to play basketball, only basketball
So there was no other sports in your life ? Im quite good at football, but basketball I fell in love with it
You have dual citizenship. If you were about to choose for which team you would like to play? A year ago I would say: French, because i knew very little about Poland, life and basketball here. But now Ive been here for a year and a half and I started liking this country, the people, the atmosphere and today I would choose Polish team.
How likely is it for you to play in polish team? Your participation in youth championships for French team doesnt prevent you from playing for polish team? I think i could play for polish team after sorting out few formalities.
How is it like to work with coach Rajkovic? Hes known to everyone as very demanding both towards players as well as staff. What is your approach to him? Is very good and very demanding. I wouldnt like to compare him to our previous coach. Hes a person you can speak to about everything. It is important to have a coach, for whom basketball is the most important, but who also cares about his players and is approachable out of the court and out of trainings. When it comes to basketball, hes very demanding, but I think that here in Turow the coaches have always been like that.
Do you like his way of coaching? We believe in his skills and thought leadership. I think the team will be successful regardless of who is on the court if everyone understands his system and listens to what hes saying,.
What are Turows targets in TBL (polish basketball league) this season? There has always been only one target to get to the final. I think that this season Prokom is not going to win and every other team perceives it as a chance. Because of that, the league will be very strong. My goal is to surprise
What about VTB? We very much regret we lost two games in Zgorzelec by 2 or 3 points. we could have easily won them adn that would have completely changed our position in VTB. Were learning and We have nothing to be ashamed of as were not losing by 30 points. We play against teams, which have a budget 30 times bigger than ours. As a player, I like challenges and hate losing. we have to transfer to polish league what weve learnt on european courts and build on our experience.
Since the beginning, VTB has been treated as the league to gain experience or you have had different targets? To win few games that was our goal. There are still a few ahead of us, so I think we still have the chance to succeed. We havent been told that we have to get to the finals or play-offs. Turow is playing for the first time in the league, so it hasnt been clear in what shape the team is going to be in. We are trying our best and we hope that these experiences will bring us benefits.
What are your personal goals this season? Personally I would like to show everyone that I can afford more than I presented last season, since I didnt get much chance to play. There were many players in our team who were spending more time on the court and were given more responsibility. This year, the coach said that a lot will depend on me. I hope I will finish this season as well as I started it.
Youre a young player. What would you like to achieve in your career? As for every european player, my target is Euroleague. But looking into foreseeable future, my goal is to finish well this season with Turow. Everybody knows that when the team wins, all players are happy.
Your contract with Turow is coming to an end this season. Are you planning to stay in Zgorzelec? I would really like to, but you never know.
What if you get a better offer? It would have to be much better
Is an offer of playing in Euroleague good enough to change the club? Of course
But youve already had your debut n Euroleage I had, indeed. When i was 18, i played for french club: Le Mans, I had few opportunities to play on euroleagues courts.
You became MVP of October, youre in great shape in the beginning of the season. I feel good with it. Honestlly, I dont feel it like that. We are one team in which everyone has got set tasks. We need everyone to win. In the first month I played well but i can say that each of Chylinski, Jackson, Zigeranovic, Micic can score 20 points in the game. Im glad were doing well were winning, but i didnt become a star because of last few games. Im trying to be a leader, but this is also what the coach asked me to be. I try to motivate my teammates, speak to them in the cloakroom, on the court. I think that I will benefit from it in the future and I should learn how to do it well. Every team needs a leader who will take some responsibilities and duties on him. The coach knows how to put it all together.
He take some risks now, but every coach does I think it is for the best of the players, it gives us some mental comfort, it is easier to focus on the game. Is there any chance we will see you at Eurobasket next year? I would very much like to play. There are not many player playing on my position in France. There is a chance, but for now I am focusing on this season. It would be a great ending of my season and a distinction to be chosen to play.
You played with Nando De Colo and Nicolas Batum in youth teams. Have you stayed in touch with them? Are you friends? With Nicolas definitely. Hes a great colleague. Apart from that, we player together in le mans. We stay in touch not as much as before, but we still talk regularly.
Which period in your sport career was the best for you? Every year I consider all positive and negatives sides of my game. For now I havent had a season, which would be particularly good. I can say that in the last in France I played very well. But we havent achieved much, and I would like to win. I hope this year will be different.
NBA is the dream of every basketball player. Yours as well? Obviously. I think I got to the age when I should stop believing in NBA. On top of it, NBA basketball appeals to me less and less. I prefer european style. As everyone, I would like to play there for a while. But its all the flashes, America and the big show behind it which makes dream about it.
Which team would you like to play for? New York Knicks
Why? The feeling i like the city. I was very impressed with their games in nineties.
What do you think about Asseco Prokom Gdynia? They are not presenting very good game at the moment neither on polish courts nor in eurleague. Im neither a coach nor an export to speak about it. But If I have to answer your question, I think the transfers they made in summer havent done much good to the team.
And now a coupe of personal questions...Who is your idol on the court?
Toni Kukoc from Chicago Bulls is my favourite. He was one of the best players in Europe. Im more or less the same height, He was left-handed, I am right-handed, but i have watched many of his games and was trying to learn from him.
And out of the court? My mum.
What would you be doing if you werent basketball player? Ive always liked planes. Ii wouldnt say i wanted to be a pilot when I was a kid, but aviation definitely appealed.
If one of your dreams could come true, what would it be? Simply win this season! Obviously, Heath of my relatives comes first. But I would also like gold in June
What do you do in your spare time? Last season, I travelled a bit, was sightseeing and getting to know my neighbourhood Prague, Dresden. This season, we havent had much time cinema, movies, sleep. Favorite movie? Bloody Diamond with DiCaprio.
Polish or French girls? Polish
Why? Because there is polish blond flowing in my veins. Good feeling.
What team do you cheer? Paris Saint Germain
You spend loads of time with your team, two trainings a day, trips together. And now with VTB they are even longer. Do you not have enough of them? Ha, sometimes (wink). But Ill manage till June.
Who do you share the room with on the trips? Damian Kulig.
What to you value in people? Honesty, honesty, honesty. I would have said good heart, but honesty comes first. Simplicity, modesty, honesty.
Pawel Mroz (ex Slask Wroclaw) is a newcomer at Usti n/Labem - 1 day ago
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SLUNETA Usti nad Labem (NBL) strengthened their roster with addition of 32-year old Polish center Pawel Mroz (214-115kg-84). He played most recently at Slask Wroclaw in Polish 1Liga. But in three games he recorded just 1.0ppg and 1.3rpg last season. Mroz also played 2 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he averaged only 1.5ppg and 1.5rpg. The most of previous (2014-15) season he spent at Norrkoping Dolphins in Basketligan. In 39 games he had 6.3ppg and 4.3rpg. Mroz also spent pre-season at Wil... [read more]
SLUNETA Usti nad Labem (NBL) strengthened their roster with addition of 32-year old Polish center Pawel Mroz (214-115kg-84). He played most recently at Slask Wroclaw in Polish 1Liga. But in three games he recorded just 1.0ppg and 1.3rpg last season. Mroz also played 2 games in FIBA Europe Cup where he averaged only 1.5ppg and 1.5rpg. The most of previous (2014-15) season he spent at Norrkoping Dolphins in Basketligan. In 39 games he had 6.3ppg and 4.3rpg. Mroz also spent pre-season at Wilki Morskie (TBL) in Polish league that year. The list of the past achievements is quite long as among others his team was regular season runner-up in Slovakian League in 2011. Mroz received also Eurobasket.com All-Czech Republic League Honorable Mention award back in 2013. He was a member of Polish U18 National Team in 2002. Mroz is quite experienced player. He has played also professionally in Italy (Virtus Obiettivo Lavoro Bologna), Poland (Unia Tarnow, AZS Koszalin, Asseco and Kwidzyn), Slovakia (Nova Ves) and Czech Republic (Basketbal Svitavy).
Poland - Georgia 80:71 Poland earned the third position at the Anwil Basketball Challenge tournament. They beat Georgia in the consolation final. Mateusz Ponitka (196-G/F-93) came up with 17 points to lead the winners. Poland sank 26 points in the opening frame to gain an 8-point lead. They stayed in front throughout the second quarter. Poland recorded a 47:32 halftime lead. The hosts maintained the advantage in the second half. They entered the final period up by 16 points and withheld... [read more]
Poland - Georgia 80:71
Poland earned the third position at the Anwil Basketball Challenge tournament. They beat Georgia in the consolation final. Mateusz Ponitka (196-G/F-93) came up with 17 points to lead the winners. Poland sank 26 points in the opening frame to gain an 8-point lead. They stayed in front throughout the second quarter. Poland recorded a 47:32 halftime lead. The hosts maintained the advantage in the second half. They entered the final period up by 16 points and withheld a strong comeback rally from Georgia in the fourth frame. Adam Waczynski (199-G/F-89) notched 16 points, while Przemyslaw Zamojski (193-G/F-86, college: Independence CC) had 12 points for Poland. Zaza Pachulia (211-C-84) replied with 17 points for Georgia. Giorgi Shermadini (216-C-89) had 15 points in the loss.
Asseco Gdynia (TBL) is close to add to their roster 19-year old guard Marcel Ponitka (193-97, college: High School) who played last time at Stelmet Zielona Gora. In 14 TBL games he recorded 3.3ppg and 1.2rpg last season. He helped them to win the league title and they also made it to the Cup final. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-Polish 2Liga Honorable MentionPolish U20 Championships Semifinals. Ponitka also played 2 games in Euroleague where... [read more]
Asseco Gdynia (TBL) is close to add to their roster 19-year old guard Marcel Ponitka (193-97, college: High School) who played last time at Stelmet Zielona Gora. In 14 TBL games he recorded 3.3ppg and 1.2rpg last season. He helped them to win the league title and they also made it to the Cup final. A very spectacular season in his career as he was voted to Eurobasket.com All-Polish 2Liga Honorable MentionPolish U20 Championships Semifinals. Ponitka also played 2 games in Euroleague where he averaged just 1.0ppg and 1.0rpg. Ponitka represented Poland at the European Championships U20 Division B in Chalkida (Greece) this year. His stats at that event were 7 games: 6.4ppg, 3.7rpg, 3.1apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 37.5%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 50.0%. Ponitka has played previously for three other teams: Poznan Pyra, GTK Gdynia and GTK II Gdynia. He attended High School until 2015 and it will be his second season as a professional player.
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