Chuck Eidson, Unics Kazan

Oct 14, 2013 by Javier Gancedo, Print
Chuck Eidson, Unics Kazan
Chuck Eidson - Unics Kazan - EC12 (photo Kazan is about to start its eighth Eurocup season as one of the many candidates to go far in the competition. Unics already won the Eurocup in 2011 and subsequently reached the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Quarterfinals in 2012. One of its best known faces is do-it-all swingman Chuck Eidson, who was chosen as the 2008-09 Eurocup MVP and led Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius to win the competition that season. Eidson is in his second year with Unics and earned All-Eurocup second team honors last season, averaging 16.5 points on 93.2% free throw accuracy, 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals in 14 games. His team, however, lost against Valencia Basket on points differential in the quarterfinals. In just 42 Eurocup career games, Eidson is 16th in the all-time scoring list (685 points) and ties for ninth place in assists (175). Eidson wants to take Unics all the way and is really happy to work for new head coach Andrea Trinchieri, as he told us in this interview. "I can only say good things about our coach," Eidson told "I am excited to have the chance to play for him this year and hopefully we will win big things here in Kazan."

Hello, Chuck, welcome to a new Eurocup season - more teams, more games and more excitement. How is Unics Kazan getting ready for it?

"We are figuring out our team now, trying to get things together. We have a pretty good group in the first round, pretty competitive. We are excited about that. After the first round, you pretty much don't know what is going to happen, as new teams will enter the competition. We will see."

You mentioned your tough regular season group featuring Banvit Bandirma, VEF Riga, Maccabi Haifa Bazan, MZT Skopje and Kalev Cramo Tallinn. How difficult will it be to advance in this group?

"Well, it makes winning at home very important. If we are solid at home and steal a couple on the road, we will go through. That's just the way it is. Travelling will be difficult but rules changed to avoid very long trips in the first round. You have to take advantage of the opportunity and take one game at the time."

You have a new point guard duo, Nikos Zisis and Tywain McKee. How can they help the team?

"I can say a lot of good things about both guys. They are different, which gives us a different look when each of them is in the game. I really think that the point guard position is very well taken care of this season. I respect both of them and enjoy a lot playing with them. Each offers a different look when he is in the game. That is going to be good our us - and tough for our opponents."

Probably the most unknown Unics players for Eurocup fans are Luka Harangody and Andrew Goudelock. Can you tell them about them?

"Yes, they are new Eurocup players and I think they are really looking forward to getting the season started. Andrew is an unbelievable scorer. There are not too many players in Europe with those skills when it comes to putting the ball in the basket. I think he is going to surprise a lot of Eurocup fans. As far as Luke, he brings in totally different kind of skills. He is going to be another good option for us due his outside shots and the way he plays in the post. They never played in Europe and I think people here will enjoy watching them play."

You have been working with a new head coach, AndreaTrinchieri, for some weeks. How is he as a coach?

"First of all, he is very demanding and that is the main thing that he brings. He knows what he wants and makes sure that his players get the job done. I am sure he is one of the best basketball minds out there right now. He understands the game and how it should be played. I can only say good things about our coach. I am excited to have the chance to play for him this year and hopefully we will win big things here in Kazan."

How do you like the idea of having Euroleague teams getting into the Eurocup starting from the Last 32?

"I think that the Euroleague has worked its way to get more people into the Eurocup. For me, it doesn't change anything, as we still will have to beat a lot of good teams, but adds more excitement to the tournament. Like I said, nobody really knows how it is going to be."

You were named the 2008-09 Eurocup MVP and led Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius to win the competition. Which are your biggest memories of that?

Chuck Eidson - Unics Kazan - EC12 (photo"Actually, winning and evertything brings feelings that you cannot replace but I really miss the guys in the team. That was a very cohesive group. That was really a great group of people. It was special to play and win with Marius Petravicius. We have known each other for over 10 years. Vilnius will always be a special place for me. I am just excited that I had the chance to play there."

You made your Eurocup debut with Strasbourg in 2006-07. How has the competition improved over the years?

"I think that if you look at the teams now, the winners and the ones that have been in the semifinals and quarterfinals are basicly Euroleague-level teams. It was not like that when I was in Strasbourg. There were good teams but some of the best teams now are top-notch ones. The competition has grown and it has become more difficult to win the tournament."

How have you adjusted to live in Kazan?

"I don't know if anyone can really adjust to the weather because it is difficult. I have my family here and luckily, the organization has been really good to me. There is always basketball and this is always what it is all about!"

Which other teams other than Unics do you consider as top candidates to win the competition?

"You never know because you don't know which Euroleague teams will come down but right now, looking at the teams, it is difficult. Just in our group, Banvit comes off a good season and had great signings this year, making them a very tough team. From then on, every group as a team that could take the championship. It is hard to say so early in the season."