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Kyzlink: "EBA league is good as a starter line, but I have bigger ambitions here"

The shooting guard, one of the most talented players of Asefa Estudiantes, tells us about his arrival to the team and his goals. At the moment, he is averaging only 11 points and 2,6 rebounds, but he has a great ability to improve.

Tomas Kyzlink. (Photo: Mauricio Fernández)
Tomas Kyzlink. (Photo: Mauricio Fernández)

Tomas Kyzlink (Vyskov, 18/06/1993) is one of the best young players in Europe. He signed up for Estudiantes in October, but was immediately transfered to Cáceres, which competes in LEB Oro (Spanish Second Division), but he wasn't able to get minutes there and finished in Estudiantes in February.

At this stage of the season, how are you feeling in the team?
I feel good because since I came to the team we have won 4 games in a row, so I am happy for the team, all the players are working together. Mariano de Pablos is a great coach. He gives me good opportunities to play. I am happy here.

What was the first thing you thought when you knew that you were coming to Estudiantes?
I was excited because it’s a big change. I was in a team that didn’t give me much opportunities to play and I heard that here I could get more minutes and to train with the ACB team, so it’s an amazing experience. I was excited and happy.

Did you know anything about the team before your arrival?
I was here just for one practice. I knew all the players. When I arrived Mariano told me about the systems and what he wanted to play, so everything came after.

I imagine that you knew the ACB...
Yeah, for sure. I think that everybody watches the ACB in Europe because it’s the second league in the world. I knew everything about the ACB players, of course. I usually check the stats, the videos and the highlights, so I knew a lot of things of the ACB and the ACB teams.

When did you start playing basketball?
I started playing basketball when I was 10 in a little city in the Czech Republic. Then I moved to a bigger city, Brno, I spent there 2 years, then I moved to Prague, which is the capital city of the Czech Republic. My career started when I was 10 years old. I was in national teams of the Czech Republic. The coaches gave me opportunities to play in bigger competitions like the European Championship for young players and I appreciate it.

[His best Championship was in U18 European Championship Men- DIVISION A 2011, when he finished with 13,1 points and 7,7 rebounds]

With your amazing physical conditions, did anybody in your family play before?
Yeah, my father played before, but not as a professional, just for fun. My mother played volleyball, so my family gave me a big support during my career. I appreciate it and I am happy because of that.

What would you say that are the main differences bewteen the Czech Republic league and the Spanish league?
The level is totally different. Everything is faster; the players don’t make so many mistakes here. The biggest difference is in the concentration. In Spain, the players are focus on every single minute. In the Czech the level is not bad, but there are a lot of players that aren’t focus on what are they doing. In the end, the basketball is different.

What are your memories of your experience with the national team?
We were twice in Division B, also I was twice in Division A. Unfortunately when we were in Division A we fell down. In the Division B it was more positive because once in Israel, we won the Championship and next year we finished in second position, so it was more positive.

What do you think it was wrong?
I came to the team in November, and every time you arrive to a new team later, it’s tough to be part of the team. Also, it was a big change for me. As I said, basketball in Spain is different, so I didn’t feel the expectation of the coach, and my basketball level wasn’t enough good to get more opportunities. That’s it.

So it was an adaptation problem...
Yes, exactly. LEB is a good league, there are a lot of players who are 25, 26, so they are experienced. For young players playing there it’s a great opportunity, but I wasn’t able to get more minutes.

How is your relation with Mariano de Pablos?
Great! Mariano is an amazing person, and also a good coach. We try to talk every practice because I have a lot of things to learn. I ask him about the systems, about what he wants to do. Our relationship is very good.

How is your relationship with your teammates?
I live with 3 players in the residence, so I have opportunities to talk with them every day, but in my free time I don’t usually call them to go to lunch or things like that.

What is your role on the court?
My role is to be a complete player. Doing everything. Defending, good passing...Scoring and points will arrive later. I think I will be ready to help the team on the offensive part after, but now I am more focus on the 'black work', rebounding and defense.

How do you see the EBA level?
EBA level is the same level of Second Division of the Czech. As a starting line of your career it's good, but I have bigger ambitions here. I want to play this league only this year. Next year I want to move up, but EBA is great for young guys.

Currently you are training with the ACB team…
I train with them every day, it’s good for me. I started to play 5 on 5 situations. Sometimes I am a little confused because they have a lot of systems, but I have to learn them.

How is your experience with them?
I don’t have any problems with the physical part. My biggest problem is the mental part, to be focus on all the systems. All is about making a good decision, and sometimes I make silly mistakes passing the ball, so I try to work more on my mental part.

Do you have any model player?
I like a lot of Spanish players. I don’t usually watch the NBA games, just sometimes the highlights. I like more European basketball. If I had to say some players, I would say Rudy Fernández or Juan Carlos Navarro. I watch all the guys that play on my position, but most of my favourite are Spanish.

You are ranked in the 18th position of the 93 generation by Draft Express. What are your individual goals?

As I said, since I started playing basketball, my biggest dream was to play in the ACB because there are a lot of options to play there. Do you mean that?

What about the NBA?
It would be fine to play there, but as everybody knows, it’s really tough to get there. There are only 360 players there, the best players in the world, so it would be nice, but my ambitions are in the ACB.

Can you tell us about your experience in Cáceres
I had a lot of time to visit the city, but it was a little bit boring because it’s a small town. I saw everything in one week. However, I was happy there because there were a lot of options to improve as a basketball player. I had the possibility to go to the gym to lift weights every time, going to shoot, the court was open 24 hours, the swimming pool…I was really happy there, but as I said, the city was a little bit boring.

And how was your arrival to Madrid...
It was a big change. I am not a guy who enjoys the night life. I don’t like it because I want to work hard and partying is not good at this age. The Metro was a big change. Here there are like 10 lines, in the Czech Republic there are 3…There are a lot of people, but I like that.

What do you do in your free time?
I like reading, but at this time the most important thing is learning Spanish. If I want to improve my game and become a better player, I have to learn Spanish. From time to time my family comes to visit me and we go around the city.

Is there any big difference between your country and this country?
Everything is very similar. The people here are friendlier. In the Czech the people is different, no so friendly. In Madrid if you go to a restaurant or a bar you can talk to everybody. But I would say that the biggest difference is the weather. In Madrid, in winter it’s like 10 degrees. In the Czech it’s like minus 15 or minus 20 and snow! But Madrid and Praha are similar cities.

Mauricio Fernández ( @mauri_fa )


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