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Europe Interview: Luke Harangody Of Unics Kazan

Former Notre Dame star Luke Harangody is having his first taste of European basketball this season. Last summer the 6-foot-7 forward has started his career outside the U.S. by signing a contract with Unics Kazan and making Russia his first stop overseas.

In first 11 games with Unics, Harangody’s playing time was limited as he averaged 6.9 points and 4.4 rebounds in only 16 minutes per game. However, Harangody’s role has been increasing as he has been a starting power forward in last eight games. Harangody also put his best performance so far this season in last match against VEF Riga, where he scored 16 points, grabbed seven boards and dished out tree assists.

RealGM caught up with Harangody to talk about his experience in Russia, playing under foreigner coach, NBA and more.

RealGM: First of all, what are your first impressions of Russia and Unics Kazan? Which things are different than you expected?

Harangody: My first impression is I love the city I’m in. It’s been a great experience so far. To be out of my element has been interesting, to see a new culture. As far as the team, I couldn’t ask for better teammates. It’s made the transition easier. It’s a great group to play with overseas.

RealGM: It is probably the first time you’re playing under a non-American coach (Andrea Trinchieri). Could you name a few differences between the U.S. and European coaching?

Harangody: Yes, this would be the first time I’ve played under an international coach. I think the approach to the game is much different in the U.S. There’s some things I’ve learned, just fundamentally. It’s a lot slower of a pace. It’s more of a chess game in Europe.

RealGM: Andrew Goudelock has also made his debut in Europe. Is it easier when there’s an American player who is pretty much sitting in the same boat with you?

Harangody: Yes. Having Andrew and also two other Americans on the team to lean on has made the transition a lot easier because they’ve gone through the whole transition.

RealGM: There’s another American on your team, Chuck Eidson, who’s been playing in Europe for ten years. Did you get any advice from him in terms of living and playing basketball in Europe?

Harangody: Yeah, Chuck’s been great. He’s a veteran so he’s seen it all, so any questions I have I go to him for it. He’s what you’d expect from a veteran leader. Whether on the court or off the court he’s been amazing.

RealGM: How did you choose your first team in Europe? Did you have any other options?

Harangody: I had about three options, but my agent and myself decided this is the best opportunity competition-wise for my first experience overseas.

RealGM: Talking about your NBA career, what are your best memories from Boston and Cleveland?

Harangody: I think a few of my best memories from my first year in the league was how exciting and new it was and realizing a dream and just taking it all in. It was surreal for me. I’ll always be able to look back on that experience and have good memories.

RealGM: During your time in the NBA, you’ve been assigned to the D-League for a few times. Could you take us through the process of what goes through players’ mind when this happens? 

Harangody: Any time a player gets sent down it’s always looked at as a negative, but in my case I tried to take it in stride, showcase my skills and it was a chance to play more. I’d give the same advice to anyone who’s going down there - to take advantage of the opportunity to play and be as successful as you can.

RealGM: After being waived by the Cavaliers, why did you decide to spend a season in the D-League instead of going to Europe straightaway?

Harangody: I think going to the D-League was the best bet for me. I felt more comfortable staying in the U.S. Looking back on it, it was the right decision. I needed to get healthy. That was the biggest goal for the season.

RealGM: Is playing in Europe something you would like to continue doing on your upcoming career years, or will you be attempting to get back to the NBA?

Harangody: That’s yet to be said. I’m enjoying playing in Europe. It’s a new experience. I’m making the most of the experience as I can. I can easily see myself making a career over here.

RealGM: What are your individual expectations for this season and also what goals do you want to achieve as a team with Unics?

Harangody: Basically coming over here, it’s been a transition. I’m still learning the European game and figuring out a couple of things individually. I’m just trying to be a part of the team. I know it sounds cliché but for the first couple of years over here that’s as much as I can do.

Europe Interview: Jeremy Pargo Of CSKA

Jeremy Pargo left Europe two seasons ago after establishing himself as one of the most athletic guards in the continent. After spending two seasons in the NBA with the Memphis Grizzlies, Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers, Pargo is back to Europe at the age of 27 as he joined another European powerhouse in CSKA Moscow.

Throughout 2010-11, his first and last season in Euroleague, Pargo averaged 13 points, 3.5 rebounds and 4.3 assists. The guard was one of the leaders of Maccabi Tel Aviv on their way to the Euroleague final that they lost to Panathinaikos Athens.

In the same season, Pargo was also named RealGM’s Euroleague Rookie of the Year.

RealGM caught up with Jeremy Pargo to talk about his time in the NBA, his decision to join CSKA, the upcoming season in Russia and more.

RealGM: First of all, how has your game changed since the last time you played in Europe?

Pargo: I'm a smarter player. I can shoot the ball better. I have a better knowledge of the game overall.

RealGM: How did making your dream come true and playing in the NBA change you personally?

Pargo: It didn't. I'm still the same guy I was before I got my shot in the NBA. It just showed me that I had the ability to play in that league all along.

RealGM: You've played for three different NBA teams. Where did you feel the most comfortable - Memphis, Cleveland or Philadelphia?

Pargo: I felt most comfortable in Cleveland. I was given an opportunity, unfortunately by Kyrie Irving being hurt. Coach Byron Scott showed a lot of trust in me, and I was able to play with some freedom. It was just unfortunate the way the situation ended in Cleveland.

RealGM: Your playing time in the NBA was quite limited. If you would have to identify a thing or two of your game that NBA fans didn't have a chance to see, what it would be?

Pargo: I don't think fans saw how athletic I am. It was really tough to showcase all of my abilities in limited minutes. I feel I showed flashes of my athleticism in my time in Cleveland, and was even able to put it all together in some games.

RealGM: Do you see yourself making another attempt to establish in the NBA?

Pargo: That's a year or two away, and not my focus at this moment. If it happens, it happens, and if it doesn't, I'm happy where I am, and looking to make the most of my opportunity here.

RealGM: Before you joined the NBA, your break up with Maccabi was full of mystery. Could you explain how you decided to leave Maccabi for the NBA and would do that the same way again?

Pargo: It was really a timing issue more than anything else. I had a wonderful experience playing for Maccabi, as it helped me grow in so many ways. At this point, I really only want to look forward. I will always wish Maccabi and their fans nothing but great success.

RealGM: Why did you choose Israel as your first and second stops in Europe? Is it because of its American-friendly environment and good weather?

Pargo: Israel was a good opportunity to start over, and a very American-friendly environment. My senior year of college was not exactly what I wanted it to be, and I felt like I needed to start over from scratch.

RealGM: Talking about your new team, how long it took to make a final decision to join CSKA?

Pargo: Given the rich history of the CSKA Club, it did not take very long for me to decide to move over to Russia. I had a meeting with the coach and the front office, and needless to say, the meeting went well. I felt in my heart that the right decision for me at this time was to join CSKA.

RealGM: As you were not receiving big minutes in the NBA, have you ever cached yourself thinking "now I could be playing in Europe?"

Pargo: Of course you catch yourself thinking that, and you try your best not to think it, but we're all human, we all have thoughts, speculations, and curiosity about what could be if we had done something differently. I did my best to make the most of the opportunities I was given, and I didn't cry over spilt milk.

RealGM: Have you already discussed your role with CSKA? Are you planning to become a starting point guard or do you feel fine coming off the bench?

Pargo: I'm looking forward to helping my team and gelling with my teammates. My role is to be myself, and I'm looking forward to playing along with my team, and helping my team in every way possible.

RealGM: What are your expectations for the upcoming season? Is anything but winning a championship in Euroleague a failure for you and CSKA?

Pargo: With CSKA, making the finals two years ago, and losing in the final four last season, people will expect a Euroleague championship at this point.  Right now, we're focused on what's going on here in practice and training camp, but we are looking forward to the season beginning in October. What may come at the end will come; not to say that we are not looking to win championships though.

Americans Winning Titles Abroad, 2013 Edition

As all European basketball leagues have ended their 2012-13 season, RealGM has traditionally checked on how many American players were involved in the celebrations this year.

RealGM has counted for the third consecutive year, 107 players from the U.S. became champions in 45 European national leagues.

Maccabi Haifa, champions of Israel, was ‘the most American’ champion team with six players from the U.S. on their roster.

In contrast, Kamza Basket (Albania), KB Peja (Kosovo), Donbasket Donduseni (Moldova), Partizan Belgrade (Serbia) and Edinburgh Kings (Scotland) won titles without American players on their rosters.

Partizan was the only Euroleague team to win national competition without receiving help from the U.S. 

RealGM presents the European national leagues champions list, where you can find all 107 players names (top-five European national competitions are bolded).

Country

Champion team

American players

Albania

Kamza Basket

No American players

Austria

Vienna

Ian Boylan (CS Northridge)

Shawn Ray (North Carolina Central)

Maurice Pearson (Georgetown College)

Jean Francois (Georgia South)

Belarus

Tsmoki Minsk

Tierre Brown (McNeese State)

Belgium

Oostende

Sean Singletary (Virginia)

Thomas De Thaey (North Carolina State)

Matt Lojeski (Hawaii)

Brent Wright (Florida)

Wesley Wilkinson (Nebraska)

Bosnia

Igokea Aleksandrovac

Clifford Hammonds (Clemson)

Corsley Edwards (C. Connecticut State)

Bulgaria

Lukoil Academik Sofia

Darryl Watkins (Syracuse)

Brandon Heath (San Diego State)

Croatia

Cibona Zagreb

D.J. Strawberry (Maryland)

Jerel Blassingame (UNLV)

Cyprus

AEK Larnaca

Dion Dixon (Cincinnati)

Charron Fisher (Niagara)

Ken Tutt (ORU)

Michael Harrison (Colorado State)

Czech Republic

CEZ Nymburk

Andrew Naymick (Michigan State)

Tweety Carter (Baylor)

Denmark

Bakken Bears

Charles Parker (Millersville)

Estonia

Kalev-Cramo Tallinn

Ty Abbott (Arizona State)

Gary Wilkinson (Utah State)

Keith McLeod (Bowling Green)

Finland

Nilan Bisons

Ryan McDade (Northern Arizona)

Martin Zeno (Texas Tech)

Jeb Ivey (Portland State)

France

JSF Nanterre

David Lighty (Ohio State)

Trenton Meacham (Illinois)

Charles Jackson (Hawaii Pacific)

Chris Warren (Mississippi)

Georgia

MIA Academy Tbilisi

Benjamin Raymond (Xavier)

Deonta Vaughn (Cincinnati)

Kirk Archibeque (Fort Lewis)

Chad Prewitt (Arizona State)

Germany

Brose Baskets Bamberg

Casey Jacobsen (Stanford)

Alex Renfroe (Belmont)

Matt Walsh (Florida)

Sharrod Ford (Clemson)

John Goldsberry (NC-Wilmington)

Greece

Panathinaikos Athens

James Gist (Maryland)

Ramel Curry (CSU Bakersfield)

R.T. Guinn (Baylor)

Holland

ZZ Leiden

Sean Cunningham (UC Riverside)

Michael Schachtner (Green Bay)

Antoine Young (Creighton)

Hungary

Alba Fehervar

Brandon Wood (Michigan State)

Damian Hollis (George Washington)

Ronald Moore (Siena)

Jarrod Jones (Ball State)

Iceland

Grindavik

Ryan Pettinella (Virginia)

Sammy Zeglinski (Virginia)

Aaron Broussard (Seattle)

Ireland

UCC Demons Cork

Kenton Walker (Creighton)

Israel

Maccabi Haifa

Paul Stoll (Texas-Pan American)

Donta Smith (Southeastern Illinois)

Pat Calathes (Saint Joseph’s)

James Thomas (Texas)

Corry Carr (Texas Tech)

Bryan Cohen (Bucknell)

Italy

Montepaschi Siena

Bobby Brown (CS Fullertone)

David Moss (Indiana State)

Matt Janning (Northeastern)

Dionte Christmas (Temple) 

Kosovo

KB Peja

No American players

Latvia

VEF Riga

Earl Rowland (Saint Mary's)

Will Daniels (Rhode Island)

Lithuania

Zalgiris Kaunas

Donnie McGrath (Providence)

Oliver Lafayette (Houston)

Jeff Foote (Cornell)

Luxembourg

T71 Dudelange

Ryan Sharry (Middlebury)

Denell Stephens (Slippery Rock)

Macedonia

MZT Scopje

Cade Davis (Oklahoma)

Malta

Floriana

Matt Glass (Massachusetts)

Moldova

Donbasket Donduseni

No American players

Montenegro

Buducnost Podgorica

Dee Bost (Mississippi State)

Norway

Baerum Basket

Ryan Ferranti (Rollins)

Lionel Green (SUNO)

Torgrim Sommerfeldt (Manhattan)

Poland

Stelmet Zielona Gora

Quinton Hosley (Fresno State)

Portugal

Benfica Lisboa

Ricky Franklin (Wisconsim - Milwaukee)

Frederick Gentry (McNeese State)

LaceDarius Dunn (Baylor)

Heshimu Evans (Kentucky)

Romania

CSU Asesoft Ploiesti

Alhaji Mohammed (Louisville)

Robert Nyakundi (SMU)

Russia

CSKA Moscow

Sonny Weems (Arkansas)

Aaron Jackson (Duquense)

Scotland

Edinburgh Kings

No American players

Serbia

Partizan Belgrade

No American players

Slovakia

Inter Bratislava

Alando Tucket (Wisconsin)

Justin Graham (San Jose State)

Marlon Garnett (Santa Clara)

Slovenia

Krka Novo Mesto

Jerime Anderson (UCLA)

Spain

Real Madrid

Marcus Slaughter (San Diego State)

Tremmell Darden (Niagara)

Jaycee Carroll (Utah State)

Dontaye Draper (Charleston) 

Sweden

Sodertalje BBK

Kenneth Simms (Cumberland)

John Roberson (Texas Tech)

Switzerland

Geneve Lions

Kelvin Parker (NW Missouri State)

Juwann James (JMU)

Tony Brown (Arkansas State)

Turkey

Galatasaray Istanbul

Jamont Gordon (Mississippi State)

Ersin Dagli (Alabama)

Ukraine

Budivelnyk Kyiv

Malcom Delaney (Virginia Tech)

Leo Lyons (Missouri)

United Kingdom

Leicester Riders

Zaire Taylor (Missouri)

Jay Couisnard (UMKC)

Euroleague Interview: Ettore Messina Of CSKA

RealGM sat down with Ettore Messina in London to talk about what the future holds for CSKA, the Euroleague Final Four format, Viktor Khryapa and things that money can't buy.

Kirilenko's NBA Departure And Return

Andrei Kirilenko talks to RealGM about his experience with CSKA, winning the bronze in London, the impact of Mikhail Prokhorov on the Russian game and his initial days with the Wolves.

Preseason Euroleague Power Rankings

The 2012-13 Euroleague regular season will begin on October 19th and here are RealGM's preseason power rankings with CSKA, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Fenerbahce Ulker and Olympiacos comprising the top-five.

RealGM Interview: J.R. Holden

J.R. Holden was a European game changer and retired a year ago after a long career with CSKA and the Russian National Team. Now, Holden begins the next phase of his life as a businessman and maybe one day as the GM of a team in Europe.

Europe Interview: Andrey Vatutin Of CSKA Moscow

After losing their second Euroleague final in the last four years, CSKA Moscow president and CEO Andrey Vatutin felt the team needed changes. Vatutin sat down with RealGM to talk about the last season, changes and the future of CSKA.

Americans Winning Titles In Europe

There were 107 American-born players who were on teams that won their league in Europe during the 11-12 season, most notably Montepasch Siena.

2012 Russian PBL Season In Review

CSKA won the Russian PBL for the 10th consecutive time and 19th in 21 seasons.

Europe Interview: Joe Alexander

Joe Alexander talked with RealGM about his NBA experience, the Bucks, Russia and how he would do everything differently if given an opportunity to go back.

Europe Interview: Andrei Kirilenko Of CSKA Moscow

Andrei Kirilenko is the leading candidate for Euroleague MVP as he attempts to lead CSKA to another title and while he has no regrets about staying in Russia for the current season, he is excited to return to the NBA in the summer.

Season Preview: Russian PBL

With nine championships in a row and counting, CSKA Moscow can compete with the likes of Panathinaikos and Montepaschi in regards to domination of its own domestic league.
 

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