Sergey Karasev, on the eve of the European championship 2013 and his first season in NBA was interviewed by Alex Spirin (International Scout, NetScouts Basketball). The Cleveland shooter shared his opinion that scouting is one of the main basketball processes and admitted he was unaware of being under supervision of many scouting eyes himself. He also had scouting experience as a task playing for Triumph. He stressed the importance of players-motivators in a team. He also stated that it is better to start scouting process in Russia right from schools to highlight young prospects for the future of Russian basketball.
– I must say that what we have in Triumph and in the national team is rather professional and the people show a serious approach to this process. We as players have a task – to learn strong and weak sides of the rival and try to manage using this information in games. But what’ve recently seen in the USA, differs a little. Their information is much more detailed, especially concerning individual analyses. I am convinced that in NBA scouting is at a higher level. At least, according to stories told, before each game you are given the whole book where all combinations of the rival and a lot of other information are indicated. And all this should be learned.
– How useful do you as a player find this scouting information presented to you and your partners in Triumph and in the national team?
– Such information is very useful, especially for me as a young player, as I don’t know the players like veterans do. If you play in “Euro Challenge” for instance with some little-known team, scouting information is indispensable. It helps a lot or as much as possible about the team that you are about to face tomorrow.
– Can you give an example of scouting which helped to win the game or was crucial in tactics?
– Frankly speaking I can’t remember anything special. But if you know that your opponent can’t shoot 3-pointers off the dribble you can maintain distance if he gets ball running (on the drive). It is just necessary to hold all these details in your head all the time.
– Such things still happen. When we played against Unics Kazan, it was written in the scouting papers that you cover leaving Peter Samoilenko on the perimeter more or less alone for some time. We did so, knowing that Peter doesn’t shoot much from a distance and build his game on pl passes and penetrations. Once he punished us hammering 6 or 7 three pointers. No insurance company can foresee that.
– What do you prefer – to watch you rivals “live” or analyze video?
– It is better to combine it because when you see the games live, you simply watch players upon their positions and roles, – trying to indicate who could be your guy in defense and offense. When we sort video, it explains us their schemes, combinations, tactics. In case we combine both, the result is sure to be more positive.
– Did you always know, that someone is watching you from Europe and the other side of the Atlantic Ocean? And did you have any idea of how many people scouted you?
– Frankly speaking, I learned about it when there was an 8 minute video published about me– my strong and weak sides. After that I started following what people write about me. But even if I knew that some scouts are watching me deliberately it would have changed my game. I knew that there were some scouts at some games, but mostly coaches and my agent tried kept it secret, not to overload my head.
– We paid it a lot of attention to scouting, sometimes young players were given a task to some scouting for the next game. Our coach chose three of us and we did the whole thing, writing reports and cropping video. Then our coach- scout Alexey Vasiliev checked our work and rated our work.
– Is this practice still applied?
– Yes, some players ask coaches to allow them to do scouting for the next game. All this work is stamped in our head and can be very helpful during the game.
-Scouts follow such statement: “The first look can be very dangerous and deceptive, meaning it is impossible to draw conclusions on one or two games, as all the players should be followed for years. Do you have such examples of deceptive impressions?
– I heard the story about Yaroslav Korolev when scouts watched him playing Final Stage of NIJT. It happened so that he hammered everything, grabbed every rebound, executed many assists etc. After that he was signed for NBA where didn’t manage to confirm his level, occupied the bench and as a result returned to Russia.
– Why do you think Russian basketball doesn’t have such a powerful scouting background. In the USA there are many scouts performing different functions. After all you can list all Russian scouts easily, there won’t be many.
– Our basketball has to get it anyway, it will be better for all, for players and for the coaches. It’s difficult to say why the situation is as it is. Perhaps there are no experts. The attitude and approach is not right. I think, in two-three years we will be more professional in scouting in every league as the number of scouts are growing, though rather slow.
– Is it necessary to scout children from sport schools or ordinary schools, school and student leagues as we know there not many talents are concentrated there?
– No doubt, we should do it purposefully. There are always more prospects than we actually see or think they are. It is necessary to give a chance to some children to play at higher level. Perhaps, there would be more better known young players in Russia. We should scout children from the very beginning!
– How effective and careful is the players selection organized in Triumph? By what criteria do GM and coaches select the players? Do personal qualities matter much? What kind of a person has to be to play for Triumph?
– Everything is very important – both statistics, game abilities and character. There are players who are very important from the chemistry point of view, they are capable to rally the whole team, they try their hardest at practices and are ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of partners. For example Tasmin Mitchell, he was not that flashy but his role in our team was huge. Certainly, the Triumph player has to be strong inside and to be first a team player. And as for character, I think our coaches chose friendly people, as individualists feel alien being with us.
Alex Spirin is based in Russia and is an International Scout for NetScouts Basketball