Umana Reyer Venice's brilliant 69-83 road victory against Partizan NIS Belgrade in Round 6 made sure that there are no more undefeated teams left in the 2019-20 7DAYS EuroCup. It was Reyer's fourth consecutive win after a 0-2 start in Group B. A team effort was highlighted by center Mitchell Watt finished hitting 11 of his 12 two-point shots on his way to a PIR of 37 to earn the Round 6 MVP honor. A solid golfer and a wine connoisseur, Watt is in his third season with Reyer, enjoying the club's best moment since the 1940s. "his is why I returned here a couple of times already: The club is very professional and everybody who comes here gets brought into the family very quickly," Watt told EuroCupbasketball.com. "Everybody understands what the goal is: We are here to try to win championships."
Mitchell, congratulations on beating Partizan in Belgrade. What allowed you to overcome the Partizan's strong home-court advantage?
"Thank you. I think we played really good defense. We got into some foul trouble early in the quarters, which kind of took away from our aggression in the first two quarters, but in the second half, we were able to play aggressive and finished possessions with rebounds. Ultimately, I think that is what got us the win."
As MVP of the Round, you hit 11-of-12 two-pointers. Was that one of the best games of your career?
"I've scored more than that in other games but it was a very special game for me, to do that for my team in such an important game for us, in such an amazing arena with those amazing fans. Altogether, it was a very special night."
"Everybody understands what the goal is."
Reyer started the EuroCup with two losses before winning the last four games. Did the team need to adjust to a new competition?
"No, I don't think it was an adjustment. We have a lot of players who have played at this level and even higher before. We started with two of the tougher opponents in our group. We played Partizan very close until the end at home and they just got the better of us that night. And then we played a not-so-good game against Loko in Russia, which can happen. I think we are hitting our stride right now and hopefully we have some good basketball ahead of us."
You arrived to Venice three years ago and the club is having its best results in 75 years. How great is it to play for Reyer right now?
"It is amazing. This is why I returned here a couple of times already. The club is very professional and everybody who comes here gets brought into the family very quickly. Everybody understands what the goal is. Everybody understands what the goal is: We are here to try to win championships."
Venice is famous for a lot of things, but you are putting it on the European basketball map. How passionate are Reyer fans?
"Well, the fans love the team very much. They are loyal. When they come out to the games, they give us a ton of energy. They are just very good supporters. I cannot say enough good things about them."
We heard that you are a very good golfer. Do you find any golf courses to play near the city?
"I found a nice golf course that I like to go to out here. I don't play too often but when I feel up to it and I have a day off, I like to go out there and clear my head a little bit, so that I can mentally reset for the next week."
We know you like to visit vineyards and of course, Italy is famous for its food. How great is life in Italy?
"Italian food is amazing and its wine is some of the best in the world. I found my love for wine here. During the season, I try to drink it in moderation, to learn about it, and visit different areas with different wines. It is a passion of me and my wife; it is a ton of fun."
"I found my love for wine here."
You last played the EuroCup four years ago with ALBA Berlin. Has the competition changed a lot?
"The EuroCup is always a consistently tough league to play in. It is just a great competition, and not just for the top teams in every group. Even some of the bottom teams are very tough and very difficult. The game in Bologna in the last round proves it. Ulm is maybe not in the right moment right now, but they played extremely tough against Virtus. Every night in the EuroCup, you have to come out and do your best, or you can risk losing a game."
Virtus and Reyer are 4-2, while Trento and Brescia are 3-3. After years in the country, do you think that Italian basketball is on the rise?
"The entire league, I think it is getting stronger this year. Milan also got stronger, I believe, and is a well-rounded team. Obviously, they are playing at a high level in the EuroLeague right now. And now, all the Italian teams in the EuroCup are doing well in their groups. It definitely shows that the Italian League is getting even stronger."
You play next against Lokomotiv, which is 2-4 but dangerous. You lost against them already, but play at home this time. How important is this game for you?
"Yes, it is a dangerous game for us right now, because we have been playing well in the EuroCup and Loko is not in such a great moment. But that makes them that much more desperate, that much hungrier, that much more dangerous. This next game will be very important for us. It will be a good test as to where we are at, and also, it will be a big fight. We didn't forget what happened in Russia. They played a great game and we need to get them back for that, here in Venice."