Georgi Tsintsadze, Budivelnik Kiev

Nov 30, 2012 by Javier Gancedo, Print
Georgi Tsintsadze, Budivelnik Kiev
George Tsintsadze - Budivelnik (Photo: BC Budivelnik)Back to the Eurocup after a year away, BC Budivelnik Kiev has a new roster but the same ambition to repeat its long run to the quarterfinals as it did in the 2010-11 season. One of its many new players is playmaker Giorgi Tsintsadze, who has flown under the radar since he helped Dynamo Moscow to win the 2005-06 Eurocup title at age 20. Tsintsadze has played in Estonia, Greece, Ukraine, Poland and his native Georgia before he returned to the Eurocup with Budivelnik. At age 26, having put injuries in his past, Tsintsadze is proving he is still one of the best-kept secrets in European basketball, averaging 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 4 Eurocup games until now. Budivelnik is tied with KK Prienai for second place in Group A, each with a 2-2 record and one win behind CEZ Basketball Nymburk, which is set to travel to Ukraine next week. Tsintsadze is fully aware of how important this game is, as he said in this interview. "The game against Nymburk is crucial, the most important one for us in the entire regular season. I hope that we can play the way we have been playing at home lately," Tsintsadze told "I am sure our fans will help us a lot and our motivation will be bigger than ever to beat Nymburk."

Hello Georgi. First of all, congratulations on the big win against Hapoel Migdal Jerusalem. Which were the keys to that win?

"Thanks a lot. It was a very important game for us and I am glad we managed to get this win. It gives us the chance to keep fighting to qualify to the next round. We played against them last week and knew it was going to be a tough game. We reached the final minutes down by some points but managed to stay together to get this important win. We played as a team in the final minutes and that will help us in the future, too."

Budivelnik has been really solid at home but not on the road. Why makes you guys better at home?

"Yes, it has been like that until now. I think it is because we play a lot of games during the week, not only in the Eurocup, but also in the Ukrainian League. We have been playing three games a week and it is a tough schedule. Unfortunately, we haven't been able to win on the road in the Eurocup until now. Still, we have been solid at home and have good chances to qualify."

You won the ULEB Cup with Dynamo Moscow in 2006, even when you didn't play much that season. How important was that title for you?

"It was a great experience for me. I was young but part of a big team with well-known players and coaches. It is one of the biggest memories in my basketball career. I can say it was unforgottable. It has been the greatest achievement in my career. I was small part of this team but still, I had my small contribution to this success. This is my second Eurocup season and I am not a young player anymore."

Even when you didn't dress for the game, you were in Charleroi with Dynamo for the 2006 title game against Aris. What do you remember about that game?

"Of course, I was there, on the bench, supporting my teammates all the way! It was the most beautiful basketball atmosphere I have seen in my career. Aris fans were crazy - in a good way, of course. The support they gave to their team was very special and amazing. They throw a lot of paper to the court before tip-off! It was great to be there but I wish I could have played at least one second of that game."

Like you said, this is your second Eurocup season - seven years later. Has the competition changed a lot?

"Yes it did - it even changed its name! (laughs) There are more teams with options to win this tournament. All the big teams in Russia, Turkey and Spain are high-level teams. The Eurocup has become a high-level tournament, the second-best competition in Europe."

More and more Georgian players succeed in European competitions. Are you proud of see so many Georgian players doing so well in the Euroleague and the Eurocup?

"It is really nice to see so many Georgian players succeeding in the Euroleague and the Eurocup. It is really important for Georgian basketball so that more and more people know about us. Most of them are important players in their teams. I wish all of them a lot of success in their careers."

George Tsintsadze - Budivelnik (Photo: BC Budivelnik)This is the first time you play significant minutes in the Eurocup. Do you see it as a great opportunity to showcase your skills and talent?

"I have had injury troubles lately, especially last season. I changed many teams for a lot of reasons and missed most of last season because of injuries. Of course, playing at the high level gives me the chance to prove myself. I can show I can play to this level. This a a good chance for me and I would to thank Budivelnik, our coach and our owner to give me the opportunity to get this job and play in the Eurocup. I will do my best and we will see how it is going to be!"

Your destiny will be sealed in the next two games - at home againts Nymburk and on the road against Prienai. What do you think about these two difficult games?

"The game against Nymburk is crucial, the most important one for us in the entire regular season. I hope that we can play the way we have been playing at home lately. I am sure our fans will help us a lot and our motivation will be bigger than ever to beat Nymburk. They are a good team, with great players at every position. It is going to be tough but nobody will beat us easily at home. Only when that game is over, we will think about the next one against Prienai."

You are 26 years old now. Do you think that the best years in your career are yet to arrive?

"I really hope so. I hope I can keep playing in the same way I am playing now. Injuries are part of our job and I have to keep working hard on and off the court, on my body and skills. We will see what arrives next."

Which goals have Budivelnik and you, personally, in the 2012-13 season?

"It doesn't make much sense to talk about my personal goals. If I play well but the team doesn't, we will not achieve great results. I want to play well, of course, but the most important is that the whole team plays well. This is very talented team and I hope we can make it to the next round and play even better. We have a lot of new players and I think we still have to show our best basketball out there. I hope we can make it to the quarterfinals and be one of the best eight teams in the competition. We have to fight to win the Ukrainian championship, too. We will get to understand each other better on the court and will be a better team in the second part of the season."