EXCLUSIVE Interview with Kevin Avvenenti (183-G-88) - Mar 24, 2007
Kevin Avvenenti made a brillant FIBA Oceania Youth Tournament in New Zealand last year, he led Tahiti to the 4th place and was one of the best player on the floor. He was selected in the Oceania All-Star team that played in the 2007 U20 Nationals in Ballarat, Australia. We spoke with him about his experience and about the state of basketball in Tahiti.
You can read this interview and many more news about the young basketball players in Oceania on www.aussiebasketball.com
Last month you have been playing in the U20 Nationals in Australia with the Oceania All-Stars. How was it?
First of all, the average level of the australian player which is so much better than the pacific islanders. Then a great organization from FIBA Oceania. That was an experience to remember.
Were you surprised by the players level there?
Yes. I played for one season in France and I think that the player were better in Ballarat than in France at the same age. That's my feeling.
Which game was the hardest? Do you remember a player from this tournament?
Our toughest game was our first one, our training game. That was our first game in Australia and we just kept getting better from that point. I was impressed by one player in particuliar, Patrick Mills. I got the chance to play against him and I am honoured about this opportunity.
How was the squad in terms of team chemistry?
You're right we had a lot of troubles in our first games and we were not consistent but as the week went on the Oceania All-Stars started to play well... despite winning zero games (laughs).
There was three tahitians and one caledonian in the team. How were the relations between the french-speaking and the english speaking players?
Off the court that was OK but on the court we had some problems to communicate of course. We can speak english but in the middle of the game, we started to speak french again. I was getting used to the english at the end of the trip.
You were picked in the All-Star team after the FIBA Oceania Youth Tournament in 2006. What are your memories about this tournament?
I keep in mind a bitter taste after our 3-point loss to New Caledonia in the Bronze medal game, I didn't play at all in the fourth quarter. I wish we could have bring a medal to our beloved islands. I missed the opportunity... but I was happy to play in such a great tournament with so many good players.
Which teams were your toughest opponents during the tournament?
I will have to say Australia of course, but also New Caledonia and Guam.
Will you be playing for Tahiti in the 2007 South Pacific Games in Samoa?
I would not be available for the tournament because of school but I'll be there in 4 years (laughs).
In Tahiti, you are playing for Excelsior. How to defeat Aorai, the country's perenial champion?
They are definetely the team to beat but right now our team is leading the league and the playoffs will start in three weeks. We will have to play at our best to win the title this season.
How did you start playing basketball?
I was born and raised in Tahiti, I am playing basketball for 10 years now. I already played in France during one season in Antibes.
How did you end up there? That was just for the french riviera weather?
(laughs) No, four years ago we played an U16 tournament in France and I wanted to pursue a sporting cursus there. Georgy Adams helped me to find a place there.
Would you like to leave Tahiti to pursue a basketball career or do you just play for fun?
I have always dreamt of a pro career like everyone I suppose, I failed in France but right now, if I do have a second chance, I will no let it go away. Even if this is a huge decision.
How do you rate the basketball in Tahiti?
I think that three of four players could be playing as pro. On the average level, the teams could be compared to the french 6th division, th
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