Chuck Eidson, Strasbourg

Feb 19, 2007 by Frankie Sachs, ULEBCup.com Print
Chuck Eidson, Strasbourg
Chuck Eidson - Strasbourg If there is one player who has vaulted himself and his team to the top of the must-watch list in the ULEB Cup elimination rounds, it has to be forward Chuck Eidson of SIG Strasbourg. In something of an unprecedented accomplishment, Eidson swooped up back-to-back MVP of the week awards in leading Strasbourg over Sluc Nancy in the ULEB Cup eighthfinals to become the first French team to ever book a spot in the quarterfinals. Eidson ranked among the best 25 scorers, rebounders and assist men in the regular season, but has outdone himself in the first elimination round, ranking first in assists, second in scoring and 19th in rebounds. In this ULEBcup.com interview, Eidson reflects back on the victories over Nancy, looks ahead to the upcoming quarterfinal series against Lietuvos Rytas and shows he has confidence in his teammates. More than anything else, he remains modest about his accomplishments. "You know, if you get caught up in it too much, you could fall," Eidson told ULEBcup.com. "I just try to go out there and play and do my best."

Congratulations on those back-to-back weekly MVP honors and on leading your team to the quarterfinals in its first ULEB Cup season. How does it feel?

"It feels really great. You know, this is the farthest a French team has ever made it in the ULEB Cup, so it's very special."

You've arrived to the elimination rounds in peak form. What have you done differently that has made you so dominant?

"First of all, getting healthy. I had a problem with my back that slowed me down and now it's much better. And then I was able to be a lot more aggressive."

In the deciding leg Tuesday at Nancy, Strasbourg opened strong and basically led from start to finish. How did you make it look so easy?

"Nancy has been battling some injury problems and we took advantage of that. We just never let them into the game." 

Chuck Eidson - StrasbourgYour offense that averaged 10 points per game more against Nancy than during the regular season. How did that come about?

"Nancy plays a much higher-tempo game than we do. That created a lot of fastbreak opportunities and we took advantage of them." 

The ULEB Cup is your first pan-European competition. What can you say about the level of competition?

"I love it. It's great to be able to go to Belgrade and Italy and other places. It's just great. The level is really good. It's interesting to see the different styles of play. In Belgrade, you can see the former Yugoslavian teams are well-coached, and in Italy, it's the players who run the plays." 

Suddenly your team found itself without point guard Lonnie Cooper. What adjustments are necessary because of that?

"Our backups, Afik Nissim and Gauthier Darrigand, they are going to have to step up. They need to play big in our next game against Lietuvos Rytas. The team is going to have to be different, but it's the same thing we would need to do anyway if Lonnie was on the bench. We've had so many practices that we all know how to play together. Gauthier played really well on Sunday [in a French League win over Nancy]. I know they'll be okay." 

In the next round you face a previous ULEB Cup winner, Lietuvos Rytas of Lithuania. What can you tell us about them?

Chuck Eidson - Strasbourg"One of my good friends, Marijonas Petravicius, plays for them, so I've watched them a few times on TV. I know all about them. They've got a few good big guys inside, good guards and and an ex-NBA player [Kareem Rush]. It'll be a tough matchup." 

Lietuvos Rytas has just changed coaches. What affect can that have on the matchup?

"Sometimes a team pulls together and gets better when this happens and sometimes teams fall apart. So it's hard to say. But these guys have been through one before this season, so I'm sure they'll be just fine."

No player has ever won MVP over three straight games. Care to make a prediction?

"It's hard to believe Gurovic hasn't done it. You know, if you get caught up in it too much, you could fall. I just try to go out there and play and do my best."