Q&A .........with Iain Maclean
One of the legends of British basketball, Iain Maclean has returned the Budweiser League this season with a vengeance, joining up with the Edinburgh Rocks to show Britball fans what they've been missing all decade.
Maclean, 32, was a member of the Livingston team which finished runners up in the then Carlsberg League nine years ago, picked up a Basketball League Trophy medal. Since then he's won a ton of Scottish caps and umpteen SBA medals, a winner in every way. You sent us the questions and Iain stopped by the Britball office to give us the answers..,
1) How is your back coping with the faster Bud League?
It's not been too bad. I've been getting treatment on it and we've found a really good chiropractor who has been helping out, I'm getting some physio as well, so generally I'm quite pleased with my shape so far.
2) I've been at all the Rocks home games so far and it seems like you're missing a little something. What do you think the team needs most and how can you guys improve to get the W's rolling in? Thanks and good luck for the rest of the season. Go Rocks!!!
I think we need a win and how we do that is irrelevant. Once we get a win and start going in the right direction., I think that brings a lot of positive things with it. How we get it is by playing as a team, working the floor. It's OK being improved on the practice floor but you've got to have a psyche and concentration to do that in a game situation.
3) Iain, looking back to the days in Greenock when you took the basketball more seriously than swimming, did you ever think you would become such an ambassador for Scottish players and reach the levels you have ?
Probably not. I had good people all the way from secondary school who helped me get to my first senior club and I was lucky at Paisley, I had good people who had the interest in young players at heart and coupled with my attitude, I worked on my own quite a bit and that in itself reaps rewards. Stepping from there into international basketball and then with my experience in the States, it's just all been a stepping stone to where I wanted to be.
If I am looked upon as being an ambassador, I'm delighted with that. There may be certain people who because of my nature, don't agree with everything I do, but I think I've been taught the right way and I think I have the right attitude for playing and I think I've done it properly. Whether I 'm right or wrong, if people worked as hard as I did in my early years, the sport might be in a better state than it is now.
4) How long do you plan to play for the Rocks?
As long as they'll have me. I think we're in a situation where we're just looking at this season and the organisation are looking to make it a long term thing. I think I've got a lot to give and more to give but things depend on my general health but I'm quite pleased with my general fitness and that will get better.
5) Who are the best 5 players you have played against/with?
Probably the best two players that I've played against, one is Sarunis Marculonius, the Lithuanian guard who played in the NBA for various teams, I played against him a few times with the GB squad and he was impressive just to the extent that he was so strong, so smart and fundamentally, he was head and shoulders above the other people he played with and even to such an extent that he was fundamentally more sound than some of the NBA players he played with.
His compatriot Arvydas Sabonis (now at Portland) has to be up there as well, just because he is such a talented 7'4 monster and it would have been a distinct pleasure to have watched him in his younger years, when I wasn't fortunate enough to see him. I think the rest of the world was unfortunate not to see him in his prime.
To play with, I would have to say my very close friend Graham Hill (ex-Livingston, Star of the Sea) because he was a good team player, very strong and very sound and with the right attitude. There was nobody tougher than Graham. Bobbie Archibald would come into that category as well as a string of foreign players at Murray International, going back 8 or 9 years, where we had the benefit for some good talent . Alton Byrd, Lewis Young, Ralton Way..to narrow it down to a few would be unfair, but those two homebred players and the two Lithuanian boys would stand out.
6) Dear Iain, with your great experience of playing around Scotland, who are some of the top young Scottish talent coming up? thanks alot.
Bob and Sam Wood
There is a good core of junior kids coming through the Junior League, which increases their ability to perform at that stage. I'm a little bit concerned about what they do after that at senior level, because the Scottish Senior League doesn't have the competitiveness that they might need to progress. Because of my work commitments I'm not really in touch with the junior programme, but there are a lot of good kids coming through the programmes at Edinburgh and Glasgow and especially down at Troon where their junior team are playing in the National League and have already provided a few shocks this year. Hopefully the Rocks can help set up that next plateau for them to reach and it will be good for the game here.
7) What's the best team you've ever played with (Year, side) ?
Probably the best side, apart from my spell in the USA, were the last two years at Murray International, where we along with Rangers, formerly Kingston dominated the game, and in our second last year we won most things put in front of us. The biggest thrill we had was winning the WICB tournament at Crystal Palace where we beat the Russian Gold Medal-winning Olympic team resoundingly and that made everyone sit up and take notice, and also Bayer Leverkeusen in the final. That was certainly a big achievement which sent considerable shock waves through Europe and it's a shame that we didn't get a chance to capitalise on it after David Murray withdrew his funding.
8) Would you like to see a UK team trying to make the Olympics again ?
Very much so because I believe that the ultimate in any sportsperson's career to try to participate in the Olympic Games themselves. It's the ultimate conquest. I think that not having the opportunity to do that is fundamentally wrong and there is a lot of work to do to get to the standard required. We're still behind places like Spain, Germany, Greece and Italy, but given the pool of players there is now and the standard of the Bud League, then there's no reason to believe that given the right pool of people, we couldn't be competitive. It's a bit too late for me perhaps, but let's give the young kids a chance to perform at that level. They deserve it.
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